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Minimum Wage: FG Invites Labour To Resume Talks Friday

The Federal Government has again extended an invitation to organised Labour for the continuation of minimum wage negotiations, a source familiar with the matter told our correspondent in Abuja on Wednesday.

The source noted that Labour would honour the invitation.

“A letter has been addressed to Labour by the committee chairman and signed by the NSIWC chairman. The meeting is scheduled for Friday.

“Of course, Labour will attend. If they present a better offer on Friday we will accept it.”

On Tuesday, the minimum wage committee had adjourned indefinitely after talks between the Federal Government and organised Labour broke down as labour rejected the Federal Government’s N60,000 fresh proposal, up from the earlier N57,000 offer.

At the meeting, labour also lowered its demand by removing N3,000 from the N497,000 it proposed last week, pegging the new proposal at N494,000.

To fast-track the negotiation process, the Nigeria Labour Congress and Trade Union Congress of Nigeria on May Day gave the committee till the end of the month to wrap up talks on a new national minimum wage.

The ultimatum will expire on Friday night.

The President of the TUC, Festus Osifo, said the ultimatum issued by labour remained following the breakdown of talks on Tuesday.

“We have an ultimatum on May Day that if by May end, we don’t have a new minimum wage that will take a worker home, we will not be able to guarantee industrial peace.

“We are sticking to that ultimatum,” Osifo said.

Meanwhile, the Minister of State for Labour and Employment, Nkeiruka Onyejeocha, on Wednesday, appealed to organised Labour to be considerate and patriotic in their demands in the ongoing negotiation for a new national minimum wage.

Onyejeocha made the appeal in a statement signed by the Director of Press and Public Relations in the ministry, Olajide Oshundun, in Abuja, on Wednesday.

The minister said the Federal Government had consistently taken steps to secure a fair and realistic wage for Nigerian workers.

She, therefore, urged labour to recognise that the nation’s economy was still on the path of recovery from the effect of the pandemic and other economic distress.

“We appeal to organised labour and, indeed, other relevant stakeholders to be considerate and patriotic in their demands, recognising that our economy is still recovering from the devastating effects of the pandemic and other global economic shocks.

“We are committed to putting the people first and ensuring that our economic policies benefit all Nigerians, not just a select few.

“The government remains dedicated to prioritising the well-being of our citizens and it wants to urge all relevant parties to demonstrate patriotism and understanding.

“This is particularly during this critical period when President Bola Tinubu, is working diligently to revitalise the economy,” she said.

The minister therefore said the government recognised that the economic challenges faced by Nigerians were complex and multifaceted and called for a collective effort of all stakeholders to overcome them.

She added that the meeting with organised labour was a significant step in the ongoing efforts to secure a fair and realistic wage for Nigerian workers.

“As a government, we recognise the importance of ensuring that our citizens receive a decent standard of living wage, and we are committed to making this a reality.

“After hours of intense negotiations, labour leaders took a recess to consult with other key stakeholders and have pledged to return to the negotiating table for further discussion.

“We welcome this development and are optimistic that our continued engagement will yield a positive outcome.

“In the light of the current economic conditions, we have made a concessionary move from N57,000 to N60,000,” she said.

She noted that the increase was a demonstration of the government’s willingness to listen to the concerns of labour and work towards a mutually beneficial agreement.

A top official of the NLC told our correspondent that organised labour had not changed its position that negotiation on the minimum wage should end on Friday.

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Written by Joe

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