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Workers Wait in Suspense as Minimum Wage Talks Drag

Will organised Labour call workers out on strike today over the implementation of the new minimum wage? The answer was not clear last night.

Talks continued till late in the night – hours to the Labour deadline – on the new wage.

The two teams were yet to reach a consensus on the consequential adjustment to the N30,000 minimum wage – already being paid to workers on Grade Levels 1 – 6.

After the first day of talks on Tuesday, both sides shifted grounds and the meeting adjourned till yesterday.
But, after two hours of talks, there was no agreement.

Both sides were in a break out session to reconsider their positions as at 10:30pm.

Labour had resorted to the strike option with effect from today should the government fail to reach a consensus with it on October 16, over the consequential adjustments of the minimum wage.

The organised Labour demanded 29 per cent salary increase for officers on Grade Levels 07 to 14 and 24 per cent adjustment for officers on grade level 15 to 17 .

The Federal Government, however, presented a proposal of 11 per cent salary increase for officers on grade Levels 07 to14 and 6.5 per cent adjustment for workers of grade level 15 to 17.

Minister of Labour Chris Ngige said clearly before yesterday’s round of talks that the Federal Government cannot meet the labour’s demand because it would amount to using 33 per cent of the 2020 budget to pay the 1.3 million civil servants.

The new offer from the government which they took into yesterday’s meeting is 17 per cent increment for Levels 7 – 9, 15 per cent for Levels 10 – 14 and 12 per cent for Levels 15 – 17.

Last night’s meeting was attended by President of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) Ayuba Wabba, his Trade Union Congress (TUC) counterpart Quadri Olaleye, former TUC president Bobboi Kaigama, NLC Deputy President Amaechi Asogwuni, Joint National Public Service Negotiating Council Chairman Simon Achaver, NLC General Secretary Emmanuel Ugbaoja, JNPSNC Secretary Alade Lawal, President of Nigeria Union of Local Government Employees Ibrahim Khaleel, and JNPSNC member Lawrence Amaechi.

The government team was led by Head of Service of the Federation Dr. Folashade Yemi- Esan, Minister of Labour and Employment Sen. Chris Ngige and the Acting Chairman National Salaries Income and Wages Commission Ekpo Nta.

Both teams had yet to reach any agreement after over two hours of negotiations. But a source said both teams were “very close to an agreement”.

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