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Labour suspends strike as panel submits report to Buhari today

…two figures of N24,000 and N30,000 to be considered as minimum wage

The proposed natiowide strike action towards a new national minimum wage and scheduled to commence on tuesday by the organised labour has called off.

The action calling off the proposed industrial action was announce National Chairman of the Nigeria Labour Congress, Ayuba Wabba, at the end of the 10pm meeting of the tripartite committee set up to come up with the new minimum wage on Monday.

The decision to suspend the action according to Wabba was reached after agreements were reached and documents signed by federal government team and others.

He said:“Having reached this position and agreements signed, the proposed strike action is hereby suspended,” the labour leader said.

Though the national Chairman of NLC,Wabba, did not disclose the figure of the new minimum wage as agreed by the committee promising to do so after the submission to President Muhammudu Buhari by 4.15p.m on tuesday.

The Chairman of the committee, Amma Pepple, expressed delight that their assignment had been concluded.

“I am happy to report to you that we have concluded our assignment and we will submit our report to the President by 4.15pm on Tuesday.

“We will reveal the figure at the presentation,” she said.

The Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha, though acknowledged the process leading to the agreement as a long journey, thanked members of the committee for doing a wonderful job.

“The committee has worked assiduously to reach the conclusion,” he said.

You may recall that the tripartite committee set up by the Federal Government to come up with a new national minimum wage for the country concluded its assignment on Monday.

The committee chaired by a former Head of the Civil Service of the Federation, Amma Pepple, had recommended two figures, N24,000 and N30,000, for minimum wage.

Pepple disclosed this to journalists at the end of the committee’s marathon meeting held to beat the indefinite strike action declared by labour unions and scheduled to start on Tuesday.

In the process of negotiation, state governors said they could only pay N22,500; the Federal Government proposed N24,000 while the labour and organised private sector settled for N30,000.

The labour and the Federal Government did not shift ground at the Monday meeting.

Pepple said the committee would present the two figures to the executive arm of government which will take a final decision after due consultation.

She said the final decision would thereafter be sent to the National Assembly.

“We have concluded but we have a little challenge about Chapter 5 of our report. That is the section where we report the negotiation and the figures we used for negotiation and the figure that we concluded on.

“The committee came up with two figures. The Federal Government suggested N24,000 and labour as well as the organised private sector gave a figure of N30,000.

“There is no stalemate. We have finished and we have signed the report but what we are insisting on is that the strike should be called off. We are waiting for the President to give us a date to submit the report. The report will go through a process. It will go through the Federal Government as well as the National Assembly.”

On the industrial action scheduled to commence on Tuesday, Pepple said, “We have pleaded with them (labour leaders) to call off the strike and they have said they are going to consult. So we are likely to come back. We shall be reconvening at 10pm.”

The minister said, “We are making progress. The governors’ figure should be the figure of the Federal Government. We are just trying to carry them along; otherwise, the Federal Government speaks for the government.

“The figures are standing but you know that there are other processes. It will get to the National Economic Council, Council of State and then an Executive Bill will be sent to the National Assembly.

“The Federal Government figure of N24,000 is noted and it is also weighty because it is based on ability to pay and sustainability.

He added, “The labour is satisfied. We have done the needful and we have crossed the Rubicon. The only aspect we need to do now is to fix an appointment to present the report to the President.

“We are reconvening tonight because that appointment has to be made. Mr President has gone home; he is not just sitting idle. We have sent message to the place and we are making necessary contacts. If we get the appointment now, we will reconvene and decide what to do.

“The state governors have no choice now because they have attached themselves to us as the supreme sovereign, they are the minor sovereign.”

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