N54, 000 minimum wage offer joke carried too far – Labour 

The meeting of the tripartite committee on minimum wage continues Wednesday, May 23, following the inability of parties to reach consensus.

Tuesday’s session came on the heel of last week’s meeting during which the unions walked out when offered N48, 000.

However, at the resumed meeting, the federal government upped the ante by stepping up to N54,000 offer, a decision Labour reportedly rejected and stood its ground on what it called  N615,000 living wage.

Describing the federal government’s latest offer as a huge joke carried too far, the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) said the N54, 000 offer was unacceptable.

 A member of the NLC negotiating team, Professor Theophilius Ndubuaku, who spoke with our correspondent shortly after the meeting, said the “government team are jokers and need to get serious.

“They are not serious because what they are offering is like downgrading what workers are earning already. How can any labour accept such amount in this economy, our people will mob us. 

“Even when we didn’t do anything, our people will accuse us of compromising, not to go and accept a figure that is not commensurate with the reality of things today in Nigeria.

“Our demand of N615, 000 was a product of painstaking research work; that was why we listed it out item by item. All we are saying is that the government team are joking and we hope they will get serious on their negotiation.

“You know our organs have given us a mandate to commence action by June 1st should they fail to meet our demands within the time frame, our position has not changed.”

Also giving further insight into the meeting, another top labour source said:  “We had the meeting as you rightly said, and at the meeting, the government came up with an increase from its offer of last week of N48, 000 to N54, 000. But, trust, we rejected that offer and that ended the meeting. The meeting ended on a note of adjournment to Wednesday.”

The source, who told our reporter the governors were absent at the meeting, said “this is a clear demonstration of our leaders’ attitude towards what affects the people. What would have been holding the governors back from attending the meeting? I mean, it’s only when we now proceed on general strike which is the language they understand, they will now accuse of labour of being taking a hardline.  Their representatives could not effectively fit in, hence the adjournment.”

It was not clear whether the Organised Private Sector (OPS) which had earlier offered N54, 000, also upped the ante.

…ASUU warns on strike

Meanwhile, the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) Tuesday threatened a nationwide strike if the federal government failed to meet its demands.

Speaking to newsmen at the University of Lagos (UNILAG), Akoka, the Lagos zone coordinator of the union, Professor Adelaja Odukoya, said they were fast losing patience over what he described as government’s insensitivity to their plight and that of the public universities.

Odukoya said:  “Our union assessed the outcomes of its engagements with the State and Federal governments over the last few months, on matters pertaining to the status of developments around the renegotiated 2009 Agreement, payment of owed salaries and earned academic allowances (EAA), unremitted deductions made by the discredited disruptive and discredited IPPIS, proliferation of universities, and a number of other matters.

“NEC also had a critical review of government policies and actions that had led to the present deteriorated living and working conditions across the country and in our universities particularly.”

The union leader said most of the issues raised had, for years, remained unaddressed by the government.

On the ‘no work, no pay’ threat, he said the policy was unknown in global labour laws which Nigeria was a signatory, just as he described the newly-constituted governing councils for federal universities as illegal.

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