FG, Labour meeting on minimum wage deadlocked again

Posted by Tony Akowe, Abuja | 24 August 2019 | 742 times

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Organised labour now expects President Muhammadu Buhari to wade into negotiations on the implementation of the new minimum wage after fresh talks on the matter stalled again Friday night.

Although Buhari signed the new national minimum wage bill into law on April 18, 2019, its implementation is yet to start over differences between labour and government on how to spread the increase across board.

Labour first tabled 30 per cent for workers on grade levels 07 to 14 and 25 per cent for those on levels 15 to 17 but later agreed to come down to 29 per cent and 24 per cent respectively.

Government is said to be insisting on 9.5 per cent and 5 per cent respectively.

Yesterday’s meeting took place at the Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation and had in attendance the permanent secretaries of Ministries of Finance, Labour and Employment, General Office of the SGF, and representative of the National Salaries, Incomes and Wages Commission.

The Nation was informed that the government team resolved to take the position of both sides in the negotiation to the President and report back on September 4 for continuation of the meeting.

A source close to the meeting told The Nation that the meeting resolved to adjourn to September 4 to enable Buhari wade into the disagreement over relativity and consequential adjustment of the new minimum wage.

Sources said both parties refused to shift their positions.

A Labour source said: “We are demanding 30 per cent for grade levels 07 to 14 and 25 per cent adjustment for grade levels 15 to 17. We came down to 29 and 24 respectively. But they have not even moved from their earlier position of 9.5 and 5 per cent respectively.

“We are saying they should make a substantial movement in their offer, but they have refused to do that and that has not gone down well with us.

“If they make a substantial movement, we will go back to our principals, who are the workers. But they have not.

“So, we have asked them to report back to their principals – the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) and the President – so that the President can intervene and for us to put this thing behind us once and for all.

“So, we have agreed to meet again on the 4th of September so that we can resolve.

“We want them to shift ground because they have not even moved from 5 per cent to 5.5. If we see reasonable movement, we will go back to the workers and get further mandate.”

A member of the Labour group in the negotiating council, Lawrence Amaechi, confirmed that both parties agreed to consider their stances and allow President Buhari to decide on the issue.

He said: “Both parties have agreed on their different positions on the relativity/consequential adjustment of salaries, and it will be submitted to Mr. President. Let him wade into it.

“We have however adjourned till September 4 to get the outcome from submission to the President.”

Amaechi who is the National President, Nigerian Civil Service Union, said the payment of the new minimum wage was long overdue, adding that government must be proactive in order not to accumulate arrears which may create another round of agitations by employees. (The Nation)

Source: News Express

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