Minimum Wage War: FG makes pronouncement

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The Federal Government has urged Organised Labour to accept the new minimum wage proposal considering the capacity and ability of the government and the private sector to pay.

Minister of labour and Employment, Sen. Chris Ngige, made the call when he received the new Director-General of Nigeria Employers Consultative Association (NECA), Mr Timothy Olawale, on a visit to his office on Friday in Abuja.

Ngige had a few days ago, while labour leaders were threatening to call out workers for full strike over the minimum wage issue, announced that the Federal Government had offered N24, 000 to the workers.

But, the workers’ leaders countered, saying that N30, 000 was the amount agreed on by the committee saddled with the responsibility.

The minister told NECA DG that it was imperative for organised labour to accept the proposed figure instead of the N30, 000 in line with social dialogue and the overall interest of the nation.

He appealed to NECA to weigh its influence on the organisers labour to accede to the new wage offer mutually agreeable to all the social partners.

According to him, Nigeria cannot afford rounds of labour crisis in this country, so it is imperative for organised labour to accept the new national minimum wage figure.

“We need to arrive at a figure which the employers can afford to pay as an employee cannot fix a figure for the employer.

“Rather, it must be based on collective bargaining and mutual agreement by the tripartite partners.

“It is not a function of moving motions or voting at the National Tripartite Negotiation Committee to insist that the figure must be as the organised labour appears to make it look.

“There is, therefore, absolutely no need to heat up the polity,” he said.

He noted that the government’s proposed new wage was based on critical facts and indices incapable of causing disequilibrium in the economy or upturning the national social order.

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