• Thursday, June 13, 2024
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BusinessDay

Minimum Wage: Tinubu meets FG team as committee shelves talks, embarks on consultations

Minimum wage Tripartite Committee

The tripartite Committee on Tuesday, shelved further discussions on the new minimum wage to enable all the parties carry out wider consultations.

The federal government’s team later proceeded to meet with President Bola Tinubu, while members of the organised labour also said they will continue to interface with their affiliates on resolutions reached at every meeting.

BusinessDay gathered that the President directed the federal government team to work out all the details on the minimum wage requirements to avoid further strikes.

Nkeiruka Onyejeocha, Minister of Labour and Employment, disclosed this while speaking with journalists at the Nicon Luxury hotel, Abuja on Tuesday.

The Minister debunked claims that the federal government has not demonstrated enough seriousness towards resolving the minimum wage impasse

“Why will the federal government not be serious with the minimum wage issue? We have so many things to deal with, so we want to put this minimum wage issue behind us so that we can face other developmental challenges,” Onyejeocha said.

Segun Kadri, the Director General of the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria MAN, assured that it is expected that a new minimum wage will be made public within the next few days.

He disclosed that the delays were caused by the need for proper consultations amongst the relevant stakeholders

Speaking on why the negotiations are dragging, Kadri said “We must understand that these are very difficult times to negotiate a new minimum wage because the economy is going through very turbulent times.”

He disclosed that the delays are caused by the need for time to enable all the participants to consult with their constituencies.

“We are hopeful that it is better to consult properly to enable us to arrive at the wage that is acceptable to all.

“Do not forget that once we arrive at a minimum wage, it is going to be binding on all employers of labour for the next few years, so it is best we take some time and arrive at what is acceptable.

“We are looking forward to taking a holistic view of what is acceptable. It is not only the minimum wage, I mean something that determines how much you are able to pay, your operating environment, your cost of operation and the government also has to support the businesses to enable them operate profitably, so that they can also meet the wage demands,” Kadri said.

The organised labour said its NEC critically examined all the relevant issues, especially the Federal Government’s proposal to commit to a higher national minimum wage.

It also considered the content of the memorandum of understanding reached with the Federal Government at the meeting of Monday, the 3rd of June, 2024

On the National Minimum Wage, the unions acknowledged the personal offer by the President to commit to a higher National Minimum Wage above the N60,000 (Sixty thousand Naira) on offer.

Following the relaxation of the strike, the NLC and TUC National Leadership were mandated by the affiliate unions to continue to maintain open channels of communication with the Federal Government to negotiate and secure favourable outcomes for Nigerian workers and people, as part of the resolutions reached before the relaxation of the strike.

All affiliate unions and State Councils were also directed to “Relax the indefinite nationwide strike and return to their respective workplaces immediately.”

President Bola Tinubu has also directed Wale Edun, minister of finance, to present the cost implications for a new minimum wage.

Speaking with journalists in Abuja on Tuesday, Mohammed Idris, minister of information and national orientation, said the president had a meeting with the representatives of the federal government in the negotiation with the labour on the minimum wage.

The minister said the meeting was attended by George Akume, secretary to the government of the federation (SGF); Atiku Bagudu, minister of budget and national planning; Nkeiruka Onyejeocha, minister of state for labour and productivity, and Mele Kyari, group chief executive officer of Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) Limited.

Idris said the president directed Edun to do the numbers and present the new minimum wage figures within two days, adding that the presentation would form the basis of negotiation.

The minister said Tinubu is committed to accepting the resolutions of the tripartite committee on the new minimum wage.

He added that the federal government is not against an increase in the minimum wage but wants to ensure that its promises are fulfilled.