Nigerian Govt, Labour disagree on New Minimum Wage

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Wabara and Ngige

The Federal Government on Thursday disagreed with the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) over the new minimum wage demanded by workers in the country.

The disagreement was a result of the twist in the lingering controversy, as the government said it would implement the ‘no work no pay’ policy.

Director of Trade Union Services at the Ministry of Labour, Mrs Omabie Akpan, and NLC President, Mr Ayuba Wabba, spoke on the matter when they appeared on Sunrise Daily, a Channels Television’s breakfast show.

Following the impasse in the new minimum wage, Mrs Akpan insisted that the government would implement the “no work, no pay policy”.

“They (Federal Government) are just implementing the policy now, the policy has been in existence since 2004,” she said.

“Government is trying to bring to the attention of the workforce the fact that there exists such a provision in the Trade Dispute Act so that they will abide by the provisions of the law.”

According to the government official, it is wrong for labour leaders to embark on an industrial action while negotiations are ongoing.

NLC President, Ayuba Wabba, and the Director of Trade Union Services, Ministry of Labour, Mrs Omabie Akpan.

Mr Wabba, however, gave a different opinion, arguing that it was the fundamental right of workers to proceed on strike as enshrined in the labour laws.

He stressed that the rights of the Nigerian workers must be protected, as they are what separate them from slaves.

“The rights to strike is a core trade union and human rights and that is why our laws recognise the rights of a worker to a strike,” the NLC president said.

“That is what differentiates a slave from a worker. A worker can exercise that right that is provided in our law.”

He added, “Section 41 of the Trade Dispute Act provided condition precedent for a worker that is working on areas that are dangerous to proceed on strike by issuing a 15-day notice.”

The disagreement between the government and the labour body comes three weeks after the organised labour called off the nationwide strike it embarked upon in September.

Wabba explained that the industrial action was due to the refusal of the government to reconvene the meeting of the Tripartite Committee to enable it to conclude its work on the new national minimum wage demanded by workers.