Labour to negotiate minimum wage separately from petrol price hike

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The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and Trade Union Congress (TUC) have said negotiations for the new minimum wage would be treated diferently from the ongoing agitation against fuel price hike. The Guardian reports.

Speaking on the mobilization for national strike against the fuel price hike in Abuja, the President of TUC, Bobboi Kaigama, clarified that the two issues are separate hence the decision of the labour movement to treat them appropriately in the fullness of time.

He said: “The issue of minimum wage agitation is a different one from the current agitation against the introduction of deregulation policy by the Federal Government. What we are pre-occupied with presently is to ensure that the price of petroleum is reversed. When the time comes, we will hit the negotiation table for the minimum wage.”

Towing the same line, President of NLC, Ayuba Wabba, submitted that the two issues cannot be treated on the same negotiation table saying, “the issue of minimum wage is about those that are working and have salaries. The issue of agitation against fuel price increment is about everybody in this country.”

Meanwhile, the Minister of Labour and Employment, Senator Chris Ngige has said that demand for new minimum wage by labour is a legitimate call.

Ngige, who stated this recently in Abuja while receiving the executive members of the executive members of the Organization of Trade Unions of West Africa (OTUWA), hinted that government is carefully studying the proposal and will respond to it appropriately.

“The other day, the labour requested for increased wages for workers and they have only done what they are supposed to do. Therefore, nobody will quarrel with them. At the appropriate time, we shall all sit down because what the labour is asking for is the re-negotiation of an existing Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA). Every CBA based on an agreement is subject to re-negotiation at any given time that any of the partners requests for it.” Ngige said.

He set straight the notion that whenever the labour makes such a demand, it means that the workforce is at loggerheads with the government.

He also said: “It is wrong for people to think that whenever the labour makes such a demand the nation is boiling. The labour in Nigeria has for the first time met a labour friendly government under President Mohammadu Buhari. The government has put machinery in motion as we speak because I have got a letter as the Minister of Labour and Employment for my advice. We shall advise the government the way such a tripartite negotiation will be handled so that everybody will be satisfied without any industrial unrest.

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