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End strike, return to negotiation table, FG begs labour

Agency Report


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The Federal Government has appealed to the NLC and TUC to call off the ongoing strike and return to negotiation table to arrive at befitting minimum wage for workers.

The Minister of Information and National Orientation, Mohammed Idris, made the appeal at a news conference on Monday in Abuja.

The briefing was addressed by Idris in company of the Minister of State for Labour, Nkiruka Onyejiocha and the Special Assistant to President Bola Tinubu on Information and Strategy, Mr Bayo Onanuga.

According to Idris, the Tripartite-Committee comprised of the governments, organised labour and the private sector but it was only the organised labour that opted out to embark on strike.

He explained that, the country belongs to all Nigerians, and that “power grid does not know political party, tribe or religion, adding that when it is shut down, it affects all Nigerians”.

“We are making a heartfelt and deeply considered appeal to the labour unions to continue along the path of negotiations with the federal and state governments, under the auspices of the tripartite committee.

“As government, we are desirous of a peaceful outcome, and we will do everything to make this happen.

“Yesterday, the leadership of the National Assembly met with the Unions. Today, we have offered another invitation to the unions, to meet with us and continue our discussions

“We will continue to engage, and make ourselves very available in the context of these negotiations on behalf of the Nigerian people

“Let me make it clear, that we are not opponents on this negotiating table. We are united by the fact that we want the best for Nigeria and for all 200 million citizens of the country,” Idris said.

He further explained that the tripartite committee has a responsibility to strike a measured and realistic balance, in the effort to arrive at a new minimum wage for Nigerians.

According to him, the minimum wage is not only for public sector workers alone, stressing that It will be binding on the private sector as well.

The Minister added that this reality must be factored into the negotiations.

“As I have explained earlier, labour’s current proposal of N494,000 is an increase of 1,547 per cent on the existing wage, and translates into an annual wage bill of N9.5 trillion Naira for the federal government alone.

“This is apart from its cost implications for sub-national governments and private sector employees. Such a wage bill would cripple the Nigerian economy, by leading to massive job losses, especially in the private sector.

“The National Consumer Credit Scheme and the Nigerian Education Loan Fund (NELFUND) are additional significant demonstrations of a determination to bring relief to the people of Nigeria.

“We want the labour unions to understand that the relief that Nigerians are expecting, and that they fully deserve, will not come only in the form of increased wages.

“It will also come as efforts to reduce the cost of living, and to ensure that more money stays in the pockets of Nigerians.

“The President is firmly committed to doing what is right, reasonable and sustainable regarding these minimum wage negotiations.

“We call on the labour unions to reciprocate this gesture in the interest of the nation,” Idris said.


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