We Are Yet To Reach Agreement On Minimum Wage -Ngige

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Labour Minister Chris Ngige

The Federal Government has denied a report claiming that N30,000 minimum wage has been agreed upon for the new national minimum wage.

Minister of Labour and Employment Senator Chris Ngige made this known at the end of the Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari on Wednesday in Abuja.

He was with Minister of Information Lai Mohammed and the Minister of State for Power, Works and Housing Suleiman Hassan.

The Federal Government has not shifted ground on its N24, 000 proposal, Ngige said.

He said the issue of minimum wage is backed by law, which is binding on all.

The minister said state governments, the private sector and the organised labour proposed N20, 000, N25, 000 and N30,000 as national minimum wage separately.

The minister said the Federal Government would keep discussing with the organised labour and other stakeholders informally to arrive at a figure.

He said: “We reconvened for the minimum wage committee on October 4 and 5, and we had adequate representation of all the three partners. Tripartite means the three groups that are negotiating; the first group is the organised labour, the second is the organised private sector and the third group is the government, which is called the authentic authority by the ILO.

“So, we met and if you could remember the contentious issue as per that meeting was for figures to be fixed and we had all proposed our figures. But throughout the negotiations, figures were adjusted; the labour unions adjusted their figures and came down to N30,000 per month, organised private sectors also adjusted their figures from N25,000, which they had earlier proposed to N30,000.

“Governors had their own figure, which was different from the figure of the Federal Government; both the Federal Government figure and that of the state governors were also presented and we discussed because the cardinal principle of wage fixing mechanism under the ILO is the ability to pay because the issue of minimum wage under convention 131, the fixing mechanism takes that into account and also says that there must be a consensual agreement.”

 “So, we have a figure of the Federal Government and the state governments have theirs. The state governments’ figure at the last time was N20,000, the Federal Government had a figure of N24,000 and that was where we all stood, Ngige added.

“This negotiation took into account these irreducible offers on the different governments but we could not arrive at a consensus. Even though we adjourned our meeting and said we will put up a report that will reflect this position. We are still continuing to discuss informally to see if we can arrive at a common figure.

“National Salaries and Incomes and Wages Commission has also done for the government and presented to the economic management team. So, discussions are still ongoing and that is where we are.

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