• Wednesday, June 19, 2024
businessday logo

BusinessDay

Tripartite committee recommends N62,000, labour demands N250,000 as minimum wage

Uzodinma boosts Imo security with donation of combat vehicles to Police

…new wage to be submitted to President next week – Aji

After months of negotiations, sharp disagreement, has again trailed the negotiations between the organised labour and federal government team, which saw the government team recommending N62,000 and labour asking for N250,000.

Hope Uzodinma, Imo state Governor who first spoke for the government team, disclosed that they are forwarding a recommendation of N62,000 to the President for his consideration and transmission to the National Assembly.

But Festus Osifo, President of the Trade Union Congress (TUC), who spoke for the organised labour, disclosed that both parties could not agree on a figure, forcing labour to forward a different recommendation of N250,000 to the President.

With these recommendations, it is now expected that the draft will be forwarded to the president at the federal Executive Council FEC, that will approve an executive bill that will be forwarded to the National Assembly.

It is also expected that the organised labour may be able to push through the legislative arm of government to see if they can add towpath has been recommended by the federal government team.

Read also: We will soon reach agreement with labour, says Uzodinma

Both parties said they were relying on the 2018 antecedent were labour and the then government team forwarded different figures to former President Muhammadu Buhari, who later used his discretion to select N30,000 as the minimum wage.

Goni Aji, Chairman of the Tripartite Committee, while speaking to journalists, said the recommendation “ followed deeper understanding of all the economic studies, the state of the economy, availability, affordability, capabilities, current rate of inflation, sustainability

He stated that “caution has been displayed all throughout the negotiations, so that a figure that will further throw the country into confusion was not announced.

“This is because, if any party goes into an agreement of a figure that it knows, it cannot afford, it is going to create another problem for the country

“ But I thank God that we came together in all wisdom with the recommendation that is going to Mr. President

He disclosed that the Imo state Governor, Hope Uzodinma and his Kwara state colleague, played strong roles in arriving at the recommendation.

“ The tripartite committee does not have the power to

Nkeiruka Onyejeocha, Minister of State for Labour, expressed happiness that the process has been completed and appealed to all the parties to work together for the enactment of the minimum wage.
“ We have done our job and thank God that we have come to conclusion of the negotiations.

“ We did not expect that everybody will operate on one page because there are certain considerations that we have to look at. Having cone to this end, I pleaded that we should work together to move the nation forward.

But Festus Osifo, President of the Trade Union Congress TUC, however, stated that the organised labour believe that the workers deserve a better minimum wage, than the N62,000 the government team has recommended based on the current economic hardships.

“ We have to come down, you know, initially, we started from N615,000, and today, we are making a recommendation of N250,000 to Mr. President for onward transmission to the National Assembly.

“ There is nothing like majority proposal because labour creates wealth. We will also reach out to Mr. President and to all the authorities to ensure that a better wage is given to workers.

Having promised Nigerians a living wage as well, he will consider our position and our plight.

Recall that Hope Uzodinma, Imo state Governor had earlier expressed confidence that the federal government will reach agreement with the organised labour.
Uzodinma, who stated this at the end of the technical committee meeting on Friday, declared that the federal government has reached an agreement with the organised private sector on the new minimum wage.

The Imo State Governor who is also the Chairman of the All Progressives Congress APC Governors Forum, said the federal government team will engage with members of labour to also reach an agreement on the new Minimum wage,

“ We have just finished the technical committee meeting and we have reached an agreement with the organised private sector and we are now moving down for the plenary
“ The technical committee meeting is over and of course, you know that it is a tripartite committee meeting and I am almost confident that in a few minutes from now, we would have reached a compromise

“ We hope to be able to reach an agreement with labour at the plenary”

Gorge Akume, Secretary to the government of the federation SGF joined the meeting at about 6pm.

As the negotiations were on, the Nigeria Governors’ Forum,NGF, released a statement saying that the N60,000 new Minimum Wage, proposed by the federal government is unsustainable, as it is too high.

Halimah Ahmed, acting Director, media and public affairs of the NGF stated this on Friday, as negotiation between the federal government and Organised Labour intensifies in Abuja.

The NGF position, coming on the heels of similar comment by George Akume, Secretary to the federal government, that he cannot afford N100,000 for each of his four drivers may provide clear indications for the reasons why the negotiations have dragged endlessly.

Recall that the organised labour have consistently insisted that the delays in arriving at an acceptable minimum wage, was based on “ government lack of seriousness over the minimum wage issues.

The NGF however said it is in “agreement that a new minimum wage is due”, the Forum also said it sympathises with labour unions in their push for higher wages, but urged “all parties to consider the fact that the minimum wage negotiations also involve consequential adjustments across all cadres, including pensioners.

“The NGF cautions parties in this important discussion to look beyond just signing a document for the sake of it; any agreement to be signed should be sustainable and realistic.

“All things considered, the NGF holds that the N60,000 minimum wage proposal is not sustainable and can not fly. It will simply mean that many states will spend all their FAAC allocations on just paying salaries with nothing left for development purposes. In fact, a few states will end up borrowing to pay workers every month.

“We do not think this will be in the collective interest of the country, including workers.