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FG, Labour Resumes Talk On Minimum Wage As TUC Rejects Lowered Demands

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The disagreement surrounding minimum wage persists as federal government and stake holders on minimum wage, including Trade Union Congress and Nigeria Labour dialogue further.

In a statement forwarded by the General Secretary of the Nigeria Labour Congress, Dr Peter Ozo-Eson, on Saturday disclosed that the Federal Government and labour leaders on the technical committee set up to negotiate consequential increase coming from the new minimum wage would resume negotiation this week. Punch reports.

This expected to be a succeeding meeting after previous negotiation between the government and labour ended on gridlock regards on what workers at various grade levels would get as salary increase.

The Trade Union Congress, Nigeria Labour Congress and the Joint National Public Service Negotiation Council had drafted separate letters to the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha, raised issues of introduction of new terms of reference by the Federal Government team that were initially not in the document presented by the SGF when he inaugurated the negotiating committee on May 14, 2019.

 

Members of the Nigeria Labour Congress during a protest. Photo/pic finder/28/07/2019

Representatives of JNPSNC and Secretary to Federal government, had met on Wednesday in Abuja where issues that led to the breakdown of negotiation were discussed.

The disagreement started when labour representatives were demanding 30 per cent salary increase for workers on Grade Levels seven to 14 and 25 per cent for workers on Grade Levels 15 to 17 while the Federal Government representatives in the technical committee proposed 9.5 per cent salary increase for workers on Grade Levels 07 to 14 and five per cent increase for employees on Grade Levels 15 to 17.

In an exclusive interview, Ozo-Eson said, “We wrote a letter to the SGF. We understand he is stepping in and negotiation will reconvene during the week.” Punch reports.

President of Trade Union Congress, Quadri Olaleye, on Tuesday in an interview reportedly said the union would not support nor accept lowered demands during negotiation.noting that labour’s demands from the Federal Government were not outrageous.

TUC further blamed the Federal Government’s representatives for not coming up with “reasonable proposal”.

In his words: “TUC will not support lowering labour demands on the issue of the new minimum wage. We have to understand clearly that labour unions are not greedy in their demands. We don’t have to make a demand that will make governance difficult. But we have to recognise negotiation and understanding on both sides.

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“If the Federal Government through its representatives on the technical committee that is negotiating consequential increase in labour wages comes up with a reasonable percentage increase, even if it does not favour labour, I don’t think we will have any option but to show understanding because of the present situation about the nation’s economy. It is not compulsory that all requests must be granted but it must be reasonable and there must be understanding before an agreement will be signed and sealed in a document.”

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