By Innocent Onoja with Agency report..
Members of the Organised Labour failed to turn up at the reconciliatory meeting with the Federal Government over the non-implementation of the N30, 000 new National Minimum Wage for the workers in the country on Sunday.
Minister of Labour, Chris Ngige had announced the meeting with the Organised Labour and the Organised Private Sector, scheduled to hold at the office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation.
The meeting, Boss Mustapa, Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) explained on Sunday was part of the steps to be undertaken in the ongoing negotiation to prepare a complete report to be submitted to the presidency on the issues of the new National Minimum Wage.
He explained that though the Tripartite Committee had been working religiously, there were still some outstanding issues that needed to be dealt with, necessitating the rescheduling of the meeting.
His words: “Basically, the only outstanding issue to be dealt with was the harmonisation of the 5th chapter of the report, and thereafter get the figures to be submitted to the government.
“The inaugural speech by Mr. President included some very salient points, that caused me to reflect on the work of this committee, and one of it is that there is emphasis that the committee will by consensual agreement arrival at all their decisions and I think that was very important.
“Mr. President went further to emphasise that the concern is not only for the welfare of the workers but also every other thing should be taken on board as it affects the county’s economy.
“So, it is a balance of the welfare of the workforce with the effect of the new Minimum Wage on the economy.
“He also underpinned his speech by emphasising the fact we earn to go above basic social protection for Nigerian workers, but also tie to the ability to pay, because I know that a lot of states are even having difficulty meeting the basic minimum wage.”
Mustapa pointed out that 27 states were faced with difficulty in paying the basic minimum wage that was agreed, adding though that he was not making any excuse for them.
He added that the meeting would continue tomorrow (Monday, Nov 5), thereafter members of the tripartite committee would continue with their meeting.
“I want to assure all of you that once the report is concluded and ready, I will personally ensure that Mr. President receives and signs it immediately,” he said.
Meanwhile, Mr Joe Ajaero, President, United Labour Congress (ULC) told NAN that members of the organised labour got the invitation to the meeting late.
“But hopefully, we will be around for tomorrow’s (Monday) meeting by 11a.m,” he said.
However, Sen. Chris Ngige, Minister of Labour and Employment gave the assurance that organised labour would be at the meeting on Monday.
According to him, they are not here today and they gave excuse why they are not here.
“We also want to say that we do not support the State governments’ N22, 500 proposal and we have also said so.
“We also have our own figure and the Tripartite Committee meeting will look at it and the outcome of the Monday’s meeting will be a consensual, I am sure of that,” he said.