The Federal Government says the Tripartite Committee on the new National Minimum Wage will reconvene on October 4, to conclude its negotiation process, as demanded by Organised Labour.
Senator Chris Ngige, Minister of Labour and Employment, said this while addressing newsmen after a closed meeting with the leadership of Organised Labour on Wednesday in Abuja.
The minister met with organised labour leaders who were also part of the Tripartite Committee on the new National Minimum Wage to update them on government position.
Organised Labour had accused the Federal Government of stalling the negotiation by failing to mention a figure as a new minimum wage for workers in the country.
The labour leaders had also on September 12 issued the Federal Government a 14-day ultimatum insisting that the Tripartite Committee on the new National Minimum Wage should conclude its work within the stipulated time frame.
The Organised Labour, however, insisted it would commence nationwide warning strike over the non-implementation of the new National Minimum Wage with effect from midnight of Wednesday, September 26.
According to Ngige, the government of this administration is a labour friendly government and this, we have shown in many ways and we will continue to show it.
“One of the ways that we are going to show this is by implementing the new national minimum wage and this we need to fix a base for the lowest paid worker in Nigeria.
“We are resuming next week, precisely on Thursday, October 4 and the meeting may split over to October 5, as we normally use two days for the meeting.
“So, we are reconvening the meeting on the October 4, and everything necessary has being put in place,” he said.
The minister noted that the labour leaders have been informed about it and are expected to communicate to their members, saying we do not need to have any strike in the country.
He assured organised labour that before the meeting on the October 4 all necessary demands by organised labour would have being factored in.
“Part of our consultation, means that the Economic Management Team, which is managing the entire economy of the country would have something to work on.
“Already, they are working on it and the National Salaries and Wages Commission and it is expected that before that meeting on October 4 they would have been through with the work.
“So, everything is subject to negotiation, therefore, on Thursday, October 4, we are going back to the negotiating table,” he said.
Ngige added that “the 14-day ultimatum issued to the Federal Government did not get to me; otherwise, we would have addressed it scientifically the way it should be done”.
He also said that the Federal Government was optimistic that the committee would wrap up in October and all other processes as it concerns the new national minimum wage for workers in the country.
Meanwhile, Mr Ayuba Wabba, President, Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), said that the strike by organised labour continues till further directives.
“We had a meeting where the Minister of Labour tried to update us. Since the time we issued this notice, there has been no consultation or meeting.
“This is the first meeting and he tried to update us on what they are trying to do. So, the briefing needs to be communicated to our membership.
“Our demand is that the Tripartite Negotiating Council should be called back to conclude its assignment.
“We are taking back the discussion we had with him, especially the update on what they are doing, which before now, we are not aware of because there was no consultation,” he said.
Also, Achese Igwe, Deputy President of United Labour Congress (ULC), said the meeting was an interactive meeting with members of Tripartite Committee.
Igwe said that the meeting called by the minister was to brief the organised labour on the update of the Federal Government activities as it concern the new national minimum wage.
“I want to say that our demand still stands until government complies,’’ he added.