The federal government has finally agreed to transmit a bill for a new national minimum wage to the National Assembly.
Due to apparent delay in the transmission of the bill, the Nigeria Labour Congress and its affiliate unions had been planning a protest and a nationwide strike.
But the government on Tuesday agreed to send the bill on January 23, following three days of talks.
At the latest meeting, the Minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige, the Minister of Budget and National Planning, Udoma Udo Udoma were present at the meeting with the NLC, TUC and other labour unions.
The meeting took place the same day the labour unions held a nationwide protest over the minimum wage.
In his opening remarks, the Minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige, contended that protests were no longer necessary and threats should be withdrawn since both parties have reached an agreement.
“On part of the government, we are going to try to religiously implement all the processes that will enable us to transmit this bill within the stipulated time. We have a target time of January 23 and we hope that all things being equal, the executive will be able to do so. We will take it to the statutory meetings of Federal Executive Council, National Economy Council and the National Council of States to enable us to transmit the bill on the new national minimum wage,” he said.
Meanwhile, national president of Nigerian Labour Congress, Ayuba Wabba said the labour unions agreed to the date but warned it would not tolerate a breach.
“Our position is clear and through our negotiation, they know very well that not yielding to the terms is going to spell a reaction not good for the industrial atmosphere of the country. We have it in good faith that they will honour their part of the bargain. We will continue to sensitize our member that once it is 24th and nothing is done, we swing into action,”he said.
He said the ministers and the labour unions have signed a memorandum of understanding.
“With that, I think we can actually follow up on the process. We have asked them to keep faith with the timeline so that this thing can be concluded. Having submitted the Report, we expect that the bill is transmitted and that is what we discussed. We know that the members of National Assembly want workers to get desirous minimum wage,” he said.
He also stated that workers’ welfare has been at the crux of the labour’s agitation.
“Clearly speaking, we have been diligent and we have always been carrying our members along. Our power is from the membership. Until the money is in their pocket, it will still be a story. We have told them to carry this message to all government houses in Nigeria. This is an issue that affects every worker. Any governor that said he is not paying should be ready for the rot of those workers.”