Minister of Labour and Employment, Senator Chris Ngige, yesterday said the Economic Management Team (EMT) and governors will meet on Monday to address the N30,000 minimum wage proposal by the organised labour.
The Federal Government has also said that there was no going back in the :‘No work, no pay’ policy, adding that the policy has been in existence since the administration of former President Olusegun Obasanjo.
The organised labour has threatened to embark on strike on November 6, 2018, over minimum wage and other issues, accusing government of playing games with workers. Speaking to State House correspondents after meeting behind closed doors with President Buhari at the Presidential Villa, Abuja;
Senator Ngige said there was no decision yet taken by the government on the proposed N30, 000 minimum wage. According to him, “I have come here to consult with the Vice President and Mr President. On Monday ,the economic team will meet and the governors are supposed to come so that the Federal Government will brief them on what is on the ground and we will see what they will be able to put to us, because the government side is still three tiers, the federal, states and the local governments. The Federal Government is the leader.
“So, we are inviting them to come so that we will listen to them again, tell them what we are doing and what we intend to do, because they even have members on that committee. “So, on Monday, we will have a very useful discussion before the tripartite committee will come and submit its report.” On the ‘No work no pay’ rule, he said “The issue of no-work, no-pay is not a new thing, it is an existing law passed by the National Assembly in 2004 and assented to by Obasanjo.
“The law protects both the employers and employees. We are just re- echoing it. It is not anything punitive and new, it has been around since Obasanjo,” he said. He, however, disagreed with the position of the leadership of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) on the draft White Paper on Industrial Harmony.
He said that the labour officials were misinformed about the draft white paper, stressing that the white paper did not oppose the inclusion of non-elected officials to lead the labour unions in negotiations. “I don’t think they read the reports of the committee that was set up. The one I participated in is the white paper drafting and the recommendation is there, we told government not to accept.
“So the labour officials are talking out of maybe misinformation because the particular aspect of it they are talking about we rejected it – where they say non-elected member should not lead them in negotiation, my committee said, `no’ because those people they call Secretary–General or General Secretary, some of them become automatic members of those unions. “So, you don’t have to dispossess them of the right to lead. So government rejected it but they are shouting that government accepted it.”