The Federal Government on Friday, urged the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), to discard the December 31 ultimatum over lingering disagreement between organised labour and state governments on the proposed N30,000 national minimum wage.
Minister of Information, Lai Mohammed, made the appeal while speaking with State House correspondents, after a closed door meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
The organised labour had on Thursday, given the ultimatum following Buhari’s statement that a “high powered technical committee” would be set up, to device ways to ensure that implementation of new minimum wage would not lead to an increase in the level of borrowing.
However, the NLC President, Ayuba Wabba, who addressed newsmen on Thursday, expressed organized labour’s reservation over President Buhari’s position, saying that setting up a technical committee could not be a condition for passing the minimum wage report to the National Assembly.
“We reject in its entirety the plan to set up another `high powered technical committee’ on the minimum wage. It is diversionary and a delay tactics,” he had stated
But Mohammed, who described the NLC as “a very patriotic union”, said he was confident the organized labour would not do anything that would embarrass the government or Nigerians.
He said: “The Nigeria Labour Congress is a very patriotic union and I am very confident that they will not do anything that will embarrass the government or do anything that is going to worsen the situation.
“Continuous engagement I think is the key, we will continue to engage them and I think they do also fully understand what the challenges are, and both parties are determined to ensure that a common ground is arriving at which will be comfortable for all.”
NLC led by Wabara and ULC led Ajaero should realize that if it took dialogue for two of them to come together after acrimonious split of NLC, then further dialogues with FG rather than strike remains the way forward on this issue of minimum wage. Shutting down economy early next year will not only weaken the economy but it will disrupt the elections.
Furthermore, like in other climes, all States of the federation cannot pay the same minimum wage. Zamfara can’t pay the same as Lagos or Rivers state.
More importantly, can Federal Government impose and enforce a minimum wage on the federating units (the states) without due consultation and discussion.
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