Minimum Wage Negotiation: ‘Labour Gets Restive As FG Plays Waiting Game’

The Federal Government’s negotiating team has failed to present a new minimum wage proposal to the Technical Committee on the New National Minimum Wage (NNMW) for the second consecutive day, increasing tension among labour unions as the five-day negotiation deadline approaches.

This development follows the temporary suspension of a nationwide strike by the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and the Trade Union Congress of Nigeria (TUC), which initially brought significant parts of the national infrastructure to a halt, including the national grid.

The Secretary to the Government of the Federation, George Akume, made a bold statement yesterday describing the strike’s impact on the national grid as an act of “treason.”

Despite high expectations for a revised offer from the government, following a mandate to the Minister of Finance and Coordinating Minister of the Economy, Mr. Wale Edun, and Minister of Budget, Atiku Bagudu, no new figures were presented.

Both ministers had earlier met with President Bola Tinubu, who instructed them to devise a sustainable wage proposal that would be acceptable to all stakeholders.

The meeting concluded with assurances that “there is no cause for alarm,” yet details of the discussions remain undisclosed.

The negotiating session, which reconvened around 5 pm yesterday, ended without any concrete proposal on the table, leading to increased restiveness within the labour movement.

A source close to the negotiations told Vanguard that the government team had raised certain issues that required further discussion, prompting the establishment of a technical committee.

The source said, “The government team did not present any new offer. They requested that there were things to discuss and a technical committee was set up.

“I suspect that maybe the President is still going through the figures presented to him by the Minister of Finance. Maybe, the President may present his decision to the minister before our meeting tomorrow (today).”

A labour leader who spoke to Vanguard about the development expressed misgivings over the government’s delay.

He said, “We do not want to believe that the government is playing games with us. We all agreed with the government on Monday that the government was going to make a new offer, and we have to round off this issue in five days starting from Tuesday.

“We have wasted two precious days without anything. I hope we will not go through the road we just passed through on Monday.”

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