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Minimum Wage: FG, Labour Seeks Time

Arriving from close door  session that last for hours at the ministry of Labour and Employment headwaters in Abuja, the federal government through her mouthpiece minister for Labour and Employment, Dr Chris Ngige ask for a time to enable government and the organized labour reach an understanding that can stand the taste of time

“We are still deliberating. From our technical session we broke into committees. We came back, we finally agreed on so many areas which hitherto we couldn’t agree on. We are adjourning the meeting. We are giving assignment to some people on both sides and there will go and do the work and get back to us. The work involve is enormous so we are giving them the entire day to get back to us”.

On Issues of money and wage adjustment, we have different wage structures. We have about twelve wage structures presently in Nigeria which you know. We don’t want to make mistakes that could be fatal thereby putting the whole exercise we have done in jeopardy. Therefore, we have consensually agreed that we will reconvene this meeting at 7pm today. Like I said earlier, this will enable those that we have given assignment to complete the assignment and bring them back to us. We are very OK with the meeting, we are moving quickly and as you can see from here, there is conviviality. Our relationship is very cordial. Nobody is fighting. We disagreed in some areas but we have agreed back which is the most important thing. So let the work continue. We will welcome you back at 7pm when we reconvened here. Thank you”. Said the minister

The president of NLC Comrade, Waba Ayuba in his response to pressmen said labour is willing to bendback hence the federal government remain committed. He added that the leadership of Labour reserves the right to when strike commences if necessary. Labour maintained that time is of essence in doing these

“It is the collective bargaining process that have actually lasted this long. Some progress have been made but we have not been able to conclude on collective bargaining agreement and some committees need to do some computation. You can see that they have worked up to the early hours of today, that is in the true spirit of bargaining which is give and take which is what we are trying to do and to ensure that we get the process concluded and then put everything behind all of us. In collective bargaining, if a meeting is adjourned, you should know that certainly that is not our practice. Our practice is that until we are able to conclude the issues, and then we are able to inform them appropriately, we can’t say its a collective bargain. But we can’t disrupt the process midway when we are already making progress. So that is not the process of collective bargaining. For now, we have adjourned to reconvened by 7pm today. Therefore progress is been made and at the appropriate time we should be able to give the details. The 16 October ultimatum is to convey a meeting and address the issues. We are already on the table trying to sort out the issue. Every dispute will actually be concluded on a round table which is what we are trying to do. On allegations that Delta State government had already embarked on the strike, he says I’m not sure of what you are saying because we give instructions to all our members in the same manner. Clearly speaking the instruction we gave if it is only in states, then possibly there is a misinformation which we are trying to liaise with them. Until we finish the details, you should be able to get the details clearly.

On ndustrial harmony, the Union said negotiation was the basis

“we are on the negotiating table. We are discussing, once we are true, the details will be made available to all of us. But I can say clearly that we have been able to make some progress and by the time we conclude, the information will be made available to all of us. On the areas of progress, we are talking about one issue which is the issue of implementation of the minimum wage and that of consequential adjustment. So that is the only subject matter for consideration. That is the subject market that we are trying to conclude to ensure that there is an agreement which we can then use and also share with you. The figures you have received from grapevines are mere speculations. We should work on the basis of information that is credible. We will be able to give you that information at the appropriate time at the end of the process”.

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