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Again, FG, governors fail to agree on new minimum wage

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Chairman, National Salaries, Incomes and Wages Commission, Richard Egbule (left); Plateau State Governor Simon Lalong and Minister of Labour and<br />Employment, Chris Ngige, during the meeting of the National Minimum Wage Committee at the State House, Abuja…yesterday.  PHOTO: PHILIP OJISUA

• Labour holds national mourning, rules out fresh talks
A meeting yesterday between Vice President Yemi Osinbajo and state governors to agree on a new national wage again stalemated.

While organised labour is insisting on N30,000, the Federal Government wants to pay N24,000 and the states still undecided.

The Chairman of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF) and Zamfara chief executive, Abdul’Aizz Yari, said they were willing to pay but lacked the capacity.

He, however, disclosed that an emergency meeting of the forum would hold today and brief the vice president and the Economic Management Team on their stance.

The NGF boss maintained that “the governors still haven’t come out with any figure.”

Addressing reporters at the end of the gathering, the Minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige, had said the stakeholders had a fruitful deliberation.

He had equally told newsmen on Friday that both parties would take a final position on the issue at the meeting.

A source said the state chief executives were not comfortable with the N24,000 figure by government when some of them could not pay the current N18,000.

Ahead of the November 6 industrial action, labour will today hold a national outrage and mourning to bring their plight to the notice of Nigerians.

The move was agreed at a meeting of leaders of the three labour centres, Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Trade Union of Congress of Nigeria (TUC), and United Labour Congress of Nigeria (ULC).

They further resolved that on Friday, November 2, a joint Central Working Committee (CWC) meeting of the trio would hold, the first of its kind, to receive reports and finalise for an ‘ultimate engagement’ with government on the issue to show the seriousness of workers and their leadership.

The information was contained in a circular to ULC affiliates and state councils through its Deputy General Secretary, Chris Oyeka.

However, NLC has ruled out fresh negotiation on the matter.

Its president, Ayuba Wabba, told The Guardian that the organised labour was not invited to the meeting that took place between Osinbajo and the governors.

He insisted that the tripartite committee had concluded its work and labour would not involve itself in any negotiation that does not fall within the ambience of negotiated figure.

Besides, the Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) has called on the Federal Government to avert the looming strike.

The Director, Professor Ishaq Akintola, in a statement, also pleaded with the unionists on the Yuletide timing amid his acceptance that their grievance was legitimate.

According to him, a strike could affect both the supply and distribution of petroleum products.

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