Lecturers demonstrating in southeast Nigeria against the cuts in higher education. The Academic Staff Union of Universities (AASU) has been striking in the region since July 2010., a photo by Pan-African News Wire File Photos on Flickr.
Fed Govt, Labour shift talks on minimum wage
By John Ofikhenua
Discussions between government and labour over the implementation of the national minimum wage was inconclusive last night.
After three hours, the meeting was adjourned till tomorrow.
Yesterday’s meeting was a continuation of Saturday’s meeting which was equally called off after a seeming disagreement between the Federal Government representatives and those of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC).
Minister of Labour and Productivity Chief Emeka Wogu, after the meeting at the Shehu Shagari House, Abuja, said: “The Federal Government and Labour met today (yesterday) in continuation of issues concerning the National Minimum Wage. We adjourned till tomorow for further negotiation.”
NLC Acting Secretary General Owei Lakemfa said there were no contending issues since government had agreed to implement the new minimum wage across the board.
He said: “What the government said on Saturday was that the minimum wage will be implemented across board. “There will be no discrimination. There are no contending issues; it is simply about implementation.”
He said labour leaders did not betray the confidence reposed in them by the workforce.
“The people know we are representing them. The Nigerian workers know we will never sell them. It is not about dictatorship. We will agree on some parts and see what we can do.”
It was gathered that the meeting was adjourned to calculate the quantum spread for grade level 01 to 16 by Tuesday.
Secretary to the Government of the Federation Senator Anyim Pius Anyim; Wogu; Minister of Information Labaran Maku; Head of Service of the Federation Prof. Afolabi Oladapo and the Chairman, National Salaries and Wages Commission, Chief Richard Ebgune, were at the meeting.
The workers’ representatives were NLC Deputy President Comrade Mohammed Kiri; NLC Chief Economist Dr. Peter Ozon-Eso; NLC Acting Secretary General Comrade Owei Lakemfa; NLC Head of Human Resources Emma Ugwaja and the Trade Union Congress Secretary General, Comrade John Kolawole.
The labour leaders had on Saturday walked out on the Federal Government representatives , which culminated in the joint negotiating team holding different press briefings.
But Maku, who briefed reporters on behalf of the Government said the labour leaders left the meeting because they had not reached an agreement with government on the issue.
He said: “Labour believes we should not address a joint press conference until all the issues are reconciled.”
In a joint press conference at the Labour House, the NLC. TUC said :”The Federal Government team declined to discuss scenarios worked out by the Joint Government-Labour team. Rather, it made an offer which was completely unacceptable to the Labour team.”
The statement, signed by Lakemfa and Kolawole said the labour team, toavoid a deadlock, urged the Government to rethink its position and make a concrete offer.
On this basis, both sides decided to meet ayesterday.
The workers hoped that both parties woud reach a consensus tomorrow.