16-Man “technical committee” to negotiate minimum wage - Flatimes

Thursday, 26 May 2016

16-Man “technical committee” to negotiate minimum wage

A 16-man “technical committee” to negotiate a new minimum wage for workers was yesterday constituted after a meeting between the Federal Government and Labour.

The meeting was a follow-up to talks on the way forward after the hike in petrol price—from N86.50 per litre to N145.

The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) last weekend suspended its strike, which it initiated to protest the increase in petrol price.

The Federal Government, also yesterday, reconstituted the board of the Petroleum Product Pricing Regulatory Agency (PPPRA), which is empowered to regulate prices of petroleum products and set up the template.

The government said it was unaware of the existence of factions within the NLC but said it was working with everybody to address issues raised by Labour.

Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Babachir David Lawal, who announced the reconstitution of the board after the meeting with Labour led by its President, Comrade Ayuba Wabba, said President Muhammadu Buhari has approved the appointment of Alhaji Muhammadu Buba as the Chairman.

He said: “I am happy to report that we had a successful discussion and with an outcome that will make every Nigerian happy.

“On the side of the government, we want to thank the NLC for their magnanimity in calling off the strike and we thank Nigerians for their patience while the strike lasted. This meeting arrived at some major decisions.

“Labour had also raised the issue of being involved in the implementation of the half a trillion naira included in the budget as palliative for Nigerians.

“Labour had also requested that government reconstitute the board of the PPPRA which they believe if it had been in existence, most of the issues that arose as a result of price modulation would not have arisen.

“This evening, I am proud to announce that a 16-member technical committee has been set up to discuss the issues concerning the minimum wage and advice on the modalities for discussing the minimum wage.

“You realize that this minimum wage involves all segments of the society. It is not just federal,government and its workers, the states are also stakeholders, local government and the private sector are also stakeholders.

“The technical committee will also consider the implementation of the palliatives in the budget. They are to work and bring their report to the committee of the whole within two weeks.

“On the issue of the PPPRA, I am glad to announce that the President has agreed and approved the appointment of Alhaji Muhammadu Buba, a former Managing Director of Petroleum Products Marketing Company (PPMC) as the chairman of the board. It is a 25-member board with other members being statutory members from the NLC, TUC and other non-governmental organisations . We have sent out letters and the other bodies have started sending in their nominees. So, that issue has been settled”.

Minister of Labour and Employment, Senator Chris Ngige, dismissed claims that the government. was working with factions within the congress, saying the government is not aware of the existence of factions within the NLC.

“We are waiting for the NLC as per this discussion to forward the names of their own nominees so that the committee will be inaugurated.

“We don’t know about any faction in the NLC. When we had our problems, the government discussed with everybody. We have the NLC and TUC which are the two labour Centres known to government. We will not pry into other peoples problem, but we believe that if they have in house problems, they will solve it. Government will be willing to make sure that we have one indivisible NLC.”

NLC President Wabba said they have decided to work we the technical committee set up to work out modalities for addressing the issues raised by congress and also expressed happiness about the decision to reconstitute the board of PPPRA.

“Under organised Labour, we are coming with about eight persons to the technical committee to look at other issues ancillary to this price increase. I think the major success is that of the PPPRA where the template and other issues can well be examined for the benefit of all Nigerians.

“On the minimum wage, we believe that by the time the committee is constituted, these are some of the variables we are going to look at in order to arrive at an acceptable figure that can address the challenges we have enumerated”

Edo State Governor Adams Oshimhole, the mediator, said: “I think that the leadership that has been demonstrated is what is important. Under this tense atmosphere, there is a shared commitment to find acceptable solution to the problem that confronts all of us.”

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