Officials of the federal government as well as organised labour will meet today. The meeting will determine if labour will go ahead with its strike action schedule to begin tomorrow.
LEADERSHIP reports that the minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige as part of move to stop labour from embarking on the industrial action met yesterday with leaders of both the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and Trade Union Congress (TUC).
Labour had on October 2, given a two weeks ultimatum, urging the government to meet its demands on the implementation of the consequential adjustment of the new minimum wage or face a strike action.
Part of its demands was that government immediately reconvened the committee negotiating the consequential adjustment of the minimum wage and commence immediate implementation of the percentage demanded by labour.
Those expected at today’s meeting are officials from Ministry of Finance, as well as other government officials where they will attempt to convince labour of what government can afford to pay.
Speaking on the continuation of the conciliatory meeting between labour and government, Ngige said yesterday’s meeting is an information sharing to soften ground for today’s meeting.
He urged labour to be open in their discussion so that both parties can have a way out of the minimum wage logjam.
Dr Ngige said it is his believe that today’s meeting would bring an end to the issues if both parties show understanding.
He said, “This is the continuation of the meeting we held on Wednesday last week and the meeting was fruitful, and I think if we continue in that spirit, we would be able to fix the turn for tomorrow (today) meeting.
“This is actually an information sharing meeting so that we can be able to arrive at our destination together. Information is power, you know lack of information can lead to war because there is no information or the information is incorrect.
“We want to use this meeting with you to smoothen some rough edges then in the afternoon I will also meet with the government side negotiating team and also smoothen rough edges from their own side.
“Like I kept on saying that I’m conciliating this meeting, I am neither for government or for labour, I am for every body because I’m for all Nigerians. The workers are Nigerians and even the once on government side too are Nigerians. If anything, those on the government side are workers too so we have preponderance of workers in this ministry so with that I welcome you again to the Federal Ministry of Labour and Employment and I hope that our meeting will be fruitful.
“Tomorrow meeting can be one, two or twelve hours depending on what we are able to achieve today, so I appeal to everyone to show some understanding, we are going to discuss dispassionately, nothing would be hidden from any body.”
Speaking at the end of the meeting, deputy president of NLC, Comrade Amaechi Asugwuni who spoke on behalf of the organised labour said the meeting was called by the minister to share information with them.
He said that labour has made considerable shift on its demands from the earlier position on the consequential adjustment of the N30.000 minimum wage.
On the mobilisation for strike, “the meeting tomorrow would determine everything, but our mobilisation is on top gear for an industrial action from 17th October 2019.”