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16 October 2019

FG, Labour talks adjourned again


Labour leaders meeting with government adjourned till Wednesday

The meeting between the organised labour and representatives of the Federal Government has been moved till Wednesday, Oct. 16, to allow the resolution of all grey areas in dispute.

However, both groups are shifting grounds, feelers from the meeting indicated.

A top unionist, who pleaded anonymity, hinted that the organised labour had reduced to 25 per cent its earlier demand of 29 per cent salary upgrade for levels seven to 14, and also reduced the demand of 24 per cent upgrade for levels 15 to 17 to 20 per cent.

The Federal Government on its part appears to be conceding giving workers on levels seven to nine 17 per cent increase and 15 percent increase for workers on levels 10 to 14. Workers on levels 15 to 17 will get 12 per cent raise.

Labour initially was demanding 29 per cent salary increase for officers on salary levels 07 to 14 and 24 per cent adjustment for officers on salary grade levels 15 to 17 .

But the Federal Government countered with a proposal for 11 per cent salary increase for officers on grade levels 07 to 14 and 6.5 per cent adjustment for workers of grade levels 15 to 17.

At a meeting in Abuja, the Head of Service, Mrs Folashade Yemi-Esan, expressed hope that the meeting would get to a logical conclusion when it reconvenes on Wednesday.

“Today, the Labour side has discovered that there is just one side on the welfare of workers. We have worked very well together today.

“Both sides have made a lot of concessions, but we discovered that there are some grey areas that need to be ironed out.

“Some documents and information are being sourced that they are providing, by the grace of God tomorrow, discussion will continue and we believe that we will be able to get everything resolved.”

Deputy President of NLC, Comrade Amaechi Asugwuni, who spoke on behalf of the organised Labour, urged the Federal Government to shift more grounds.

According to him, the matter is straightforward. ”

Negotiations is ongoing. We actually thought the meeting will be concluded today. Therefore, adjournment became necessary.

” To the best of our knowledge, the struggle will still continue. Tommorow, we will meet by 2p.m, and that meeting will determine the fate of the parties. We expect that we close that meeting positively”.

Those at the meeting were the NLC General Secretary, Comrade Emma Ugboaja, Musa Lawal Ozigi of the TUC, Nuhu Toro (TUC) Lawal Alade Bashir as well as Comrade Musa Abbas.

Others were: Director General of the Budget Office, Ben Akabueze, Acting Chairman of the National Salaries Income and Wages Commission, Ekpo Nta.

Labour had threatened to go strike from Oct. 17 if no agreement was reached to resolve the minimum wage logjam.

The minister of Labour and Employment, Dr Chris Ngige, said there is the need for organised labour to let workers understand the current economic realities .

According to him, continued threat of strike action from the organised labour was an intimidation of government and antithetical to the International Labour Organisation principles on negotiations and Collective Bargaining Agreement.


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