Labour, FG adjourned meeting after 9 hours; to continue negotiation this morning

Meeting between Labour and FG

The meeting between Labour and the Federal Government on Wednesday has been adjourned following failure to reach an agreement.

Labour had threatened to go on strike over failure to implement the new N30,000 minimum wage.

Labour and FG sat for nine hours (from 5pm on Wednesday to 2am on Thursday) trying to reach an agreement on the issue.

The meeting is expected to continue today by 7am.

The Minister of Labour, Dr. Chris Ngige, who spoke after the meeting said; “We have agreed on areas hitherto we could not agree on. We are adjourning the meeting. We are giving assignment to people on both sides and they are going to do the work and get back to us.

“The work involved is enormous. We are giving them the entire day to get back to us; issues of money and wage adjustment with different wage structures. We have 12 different wage structures presently in Nigeria.

“We don’t want to make mistake that would be fatal thereby put the whole exercise in jeopardy. We have consensually agreed that we will reconvene this meeting at 7:00 p.m. today. This will enable those that we give assignment to complete them and get back to us. We are okay with the meeting moving on smoothly. It is very cordial. We disagreed on various issues but we have agreed.”

Also, Ayuba Wabba, the President of the Nigeria Labour Congress, noted that Nigerians would be informed of the latest development after today’s reschedule meeting.

“It was a collective bargaining process that has lasted this long. Some progress has been made but we have not been able to conclude and have collective bargaining agreement. Some committees need to do some computation. We have worked up to early hours of today. That is in the true spirit of collective bargaining. That is what we have to do to get the process concluded and conclude the process,” the NLC leader said.

Speaking about the industrial action, Wabba said; “In collective bargaining, if a meeting is adjourned, you should know that that is not our practice (declaring strike). Our practice is that until we are able to conclude the issues, we will be able to inform them (Nigerians) appropriately, but not midway when we are making progress. We cannot abruptly disrupt the process. At the appropriate time we should be able to give details.”

He noted that the major issue not yet agreed on is the percentage increase and the implementation by the government.

“We cannot speak on the percentage until we finish the negotiation. The matters under consideration are implementation and consequential adjustment. That is mere speculation. We should work on the basis of information that is credible,” he said.

The Nigerian Governors Forum had since noted that it would not be able to pay the new minimum wage.

Governor Kayode Fayemi, the Chairman of the NGF, had noted that there is no money to pay workers the new minimum wage, saying that the economy is in a very bad state.

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