LAST HOUR MEETING: Labour insists on N30,000, FG N24,000, no agreement reached

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LabourConfusion characterised the meeting of Tripartite Committee on National Minimum Wage at the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) Office, on Monday, as the committee upheld two different figures to be presented to President Muhammadu Buhari.

As of 70.30 pm Monday night when the meeting was briefly suspended to be reconvened by 10:00 pm, the Labour leaders refused to speak on the new positions presented by the government side.

The Chairperson of the Committee, Ama Pepple, and the Minister of Labour and Employment, Senator Chris Ngige, revealed to journalists that the meeting had resolved to present two different figures to the President for consideration.

According to them, the committee resolved to present N24,000, being the figure proposed by the government representatives and N30,000, being the figure agreed to and supported by the Organized Private Sector represented by the Nigeria Employees Consultative Association (NECA), and the Organised Labour.

Both Ngige and Pepple, however, gave an indication that Labour was not against this new position, but all efforts to hear the side of Labour were not successful as they refused to talk.

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Chairperson of the committee, and a former Head of Civil Service of the Federation, Ama Pepple, who spoke with newsmen after long hours of meeting said while the Federal Government proposed N24,000 while the organised labour insisted on N30,000.

She, however, explained that members of the committee comprising representatives of the government, organised labour, and private sector have agreed to present the two figures to President Muhammadu Buhari for further action.

Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Mr Boss Mustapha, had disclosed that the tripartite meeting would meet Monday so as to come up with the final report that would be forwarded to President Muhammadu Buhari for approval.

Ama Pepple, who noted that the decision was not a stalemate said the meeting had been adjourned to reconvene at 10 p.m last night to secure the commitment of the labour to suspend the strike.

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She disclosed that committee had reached the Chapter 5 of the report which has to do the negotiation and figures used for negotiation.

She added that the arrived at two figures, saying “the Federal Government suggested N24,000 and labour and organized private sector gave a figure of N30,000”.

When asked if that was a stalemate since they could not arrive at a compromise, People, said there was no stalemate, saying the negotiation on the figures were concluded and signed.

“What we are insisting on is that the strike should be called off. Remember that labour gave the figure if N66,500 but when we put all that together plus the inputs of the state governments, because we wrote to the states, we arrived at these two figures I have told you,” she said.

She said when the report is submitted to President Muhammadu Buhari, it would go through a process of legislation at the National Assembly and any final figure could come out at the end.

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She said government has pleaded with the labour to call off the strike, even though have said they would consult with their members before coming up with a position on that.

Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr Chris Ngige, who corroborated the words of Amma Pepple, reasonable progress has been made.

He said the report when submitted to the President would go through the Federal Executive Council (FEC), National Economic Council (NEC) and National Council of State and would be transmitted as an Executive Bill to the National Assembly.

Ngige, said the Federal Government figure if N24,000 was based on ability and affordability to pay.

He said: “The Labour is quite satisfied, we are doing the needful. We have crossed the Rubicon. The only aspect of it now that we need to fix appointment for handing over of the report to Mr President.

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