THE Federal Government and the organised Labour, led by the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and the Trade Union Congress (TUC), will meet today to work out modalities to negotiate the new minimum wage proposal submitted by Labour.
The NLC and TUC had, on May 1, jointly proposed N56,000 as new national minimum wage, since the existing wage was due for review on the basis of the extant Labour law.
The Federal Government had also resolved to set up a joint government, labour committee to begin negotiation.
Speaking to journalists in Abuja, on Monday, the NLC president, Comrade Ayuba Wabba, described the meeting as “a right step in the right direction,” saying the negotiation was long overdue.
“We have submitted that demand; as I speak with you, the negotiation committee has not even taken off, but what I was informed two days ago, since I had discussion with various people driving the process from the side of government, is that there will be meeting tomorrow (today),” Wabba said.
He, however, explained that delay in negotiation and inaugurating the minimum wage committee was caused by the palliative committee promised by the government to cushion the effect of fuel price increase.
“I think they said because of the issue of the minimum wage and palliative put together, it took time to do certain things and the committee members are supposed to arrive today and even meet tomorrow (today); three of my deputies are there.
“They said they want to hand over everything so that the committee can then be approved, including the palliative, by the Federal Government, because it is a technical committee headed by some ministers and our Labour centres. What I was informed is that the report is supposed to be submitted within the week because the Labour side would be meeting today (Monday).
“They will then meet with government side tomorrow (today). They want to tidy up the report, including the membership of the team that is supposed to negotiate the minimum wage,” he said.
According to Wabba, it was unfortunate that the sitting of the committee had been dragged for too long, saying a lot of time had been lost which had also compounded the situation.
“Workers are on a daily basis being exposed and the purchasing power is going down, especially the issue of the exchange rate.
“They will be meeting tomorrow (today), and they are also trying to round up because they said they want the report to go to the Presidency for formal approval because, at the end of the day, the president must be involved. I want to assure you that we have not relented,” Wabba added.