Strike: FG Meets With NLC, TUC, Other Labour Unions

Labour Minister, Chris Ngige, holds talks with NLC leadership (FILE PHOTO)

 

In a bid to avert a planned nationwide industrial action, a delegation of the Federal Government is currently in a meeting with the leadership of Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Trade Union Congress (TUC) and other Labour unions.

The Minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige led the Federal Government delegation. The Minister of Finance, Mrs Zainab Ahmed, Minister of Budget and National Planning, Senator Udo Udoma are also part of the Federal Government delegation.

The meeting which is currently holding at the nation’s capital in Abuja is aimed at addressing various issues including the new national minimum wage proposed by the union.

READ ALSO: Allow Me Concentrate And Fix The Nation’s Infrastructure, Buhari Tells Labour Unions

The labour leaders are insisting that the executive must transmit the new minimum wage structure as agreed to by the presidential tripartite committee, to the National Assembly or risk a resumption of the strike it had earlier suspended.

President Muhammadu Buhari had during his 2019 budget presentation to the National Assembly last month, announced that a high-powered technical committee would be set up to review the resolution of the tripartite committee on the minimum wage.

But the unions had vowed not to be part of the planned review by the high-powered technical committee as announced by the president.

They insisted that all discussions had ended on the new minimum wage as the labour union has taken a stand.

Labour Suspends Planned Nationwide Strike

BREAKING: Tripartite Committee Fails To Reach Consensus Over Minimum Wage
NLC leadership holds a press briefing in Abuja (file)

 

 

Organised labour has suspended its planned nationwide strike.

The strike had been scheduled to commence on Tuesday to ensure that the Federal Government meets the demand of workers for a new national minimum wage.

However, the National Chairman of the Nigeria Labour Congress, Ayuba Wabba, announced the suspension at the end of the meeting of the tripartite committee set up to come up with the new minimum wage late on Monday.

According to Wabba, the decision to suspend the strike was taken after agreements were reached and documents signed.

The Chairman of the tripartite committee said it would present its report to President Buhari on Tuesday.

The committee, however, failed to reach consensus over new minimum wage proposals as the Federal government insisted on N24,000 and Labour N30, 000.

Minimum Wage: Ultimatum By Labour Unions An Attempt To Intimidate FG – Ngige

 

The Minister of Labour and Productivity, Senator Chris Ngige, has described the 14-day ultimatum issued by the organised labour over the new minimum wage as a blackmail and an attempt to intimidate the Federal Government.

Ngige made the comments on Thursday at a press briefing.

He said the organised labour cannot apply force or issue threats during negotiations as it contravenes the International Labour Organisation conventions and the Nigerian labour laws.

Read Also: Labour Issues 14-Day Ultimatum To FG

He further stated that the presidential committee charged with the task of working out details of the new wage package had almost completed its assignment except that agreement on figures were yet to be reached.

He, therefore, asked the labour unions to wait as he plans to meet President Muhammadu Buhari today (Friday) to brief him on the progress made so far on the negotiations for a new minimum wage.

The Labour leaders issued the ultimatum on Wednesday, stating that the National Minimum Wage Committee commenced work in March 2018 with timelines to deliver on its mandate by August/ September 2018.

They also accused Ngige of delaying the process of arriving at a new minimum wage which workers had been expecting since 2016.

Minimum Wage: Labour Issues 14-Day Ultimatum To FG

 

The organised labour has issued a 14-day ultimatum to the Federal Government, to allow the tripartite committee conclude its work on the new national minimum wage.

The Labour leaders gave the ultimatum on Wednesday, stating that the National Minimum Wage Committee commenced work in March 2018 with timelines to deliver on its mandate by August/ September 2018.

They accused the Minister of Labour and Employment, Mr Chris Ngige of delaying the process of arriving at a new minimum wage which workers had been expecting since 2016.

Ngige had earlier stated that the committee should adjourn indefinitely to enable him consult further with the government.

However, the organised labour insists that the move is suspicious and an antic to further delay the take-off of the new minimum wage.

President Buhari To Launch ERGP 2017-2020

Buhari Extends Return To NigeriaNigeria’s President, Muhammadu Buhari, will formally launch the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP) 2017-2020 on Wednesday, April 5.

A statement issued on Tuesday by the President’s spokesman, Mr Femi Adesina, revealed that the ceremony will take place at the Council Chambers of the Presidential Villa in Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory.

The statement explained that the launch is “in furtherance of the current administration’s drive to sustain and build on the successes so far recorded in tackling corruption, improving security and revamping the economy.

“The Medium-Term ERGP, which had been approved by the Federal Executive Council (FEC), has amongst its broad strategic objectives: restoring sustainable, accelerated inclusive growth and development; investing in the people; and building a globally competitive economy”.

The ERGP, which unveils a road map for Nigeria’s economic recovery, growth and sustainable development, was made public on March 7, while President Buhari was on his medical vacation in the United Kingdom.

The Media Adviser to the Minister of Budget and National Planning, Akpandem James, had said the ceremonial presentation will take place when the President returns from his vacation.

FG Releases Economic Recovery Plan

FG Releases Economic Recovery Plan (ERGP)The Federal Government has released the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP) which unveils a road map for Nigeria’s economic recovery, growth and sustainable development.

This was according to a statement issued on Tuesday by the Media Adviser to the Minister of Budget and National Planning, Akpandem James.

According to the statement, the development of the plan went through a rigorous process including wide consultation and robust engagements with stakeholders from a range of relevant fields.

They include: economic experts from the public and private sectors, academia, the Organised Private Sector, Civil Society groups, Organised Labour, sub-regional governments, International Development Partners (including the World Bank, International Monetary Fund and African Development Bank), the National Economic Council (NEC) and the National Assembly.

The statement hinted that the Plan has been approved by the Federal Executive Council, adding that its ceremonial presentation would take place when President Muhammadu Buhari returns from vacation.

Achieving Structural Economic Change

The statement read: “The core vision of the Plan is one of sustained inclusive growth. There is an urgent need as a nation to drive structural economic transformation with an emphasis on improving both public and private sector efficiency.

“The aim is to increase national productivity and achieve sustainable diversification of production, to significantly grow the economy and achieve maximum welfare for the citizens, beginning with food and energy security.

“The Plan envisages that by 2020, Nigeria would have made significant progress towards achieving structural economic change with a more diversified and inclusive economy. Overall, the Plan is expected to deliver on Five key broad outcomes namely: a stable macroeconomic environment, agricultural transformation and food security, sufficiency in energy (power and petroleum products), improved transportation infrastructure and industrialisation focusing on small and medium scale enterprises.

“Realising that the country’s economy would remain on a path of decline if nothing was immediately done to change the trajectory, the present administration, when it assumed office, embarked on strategic moves to halt the trend and redirect the course of the country’s economy and growth process.

A Knowledge-Based Economy

“The process started with the development of the Strategic Implementation Plan (SIP) for the 2016 Budget of Change as a short-term intervention. The ERGP, a Medium Term Plan for 2017 – 2020, builds on the SIP and has been developed for the purpose of restoring economic growth while leveraging the ingenuity and resilience of the Nigerian people.

“The Plan seeks to eliminate the bottlenecks that impede innovations and market based solutions, recognises the need to leverage Science, Technology and Innovation (STI) to build a knowledge-based economy, and is consistent with the aspirations of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

“The ERGP differs in several ways from previous strategies and plans as it:

  • is anchored on focused implementation which is at the core of the delivery strategy over the next four years;
  • outlines bold initiatives such as ramping up oil production to 2.5mbpd by 2020, privatising selected public enterprises/assets, and revamping local refineries to reduce petroleum product imports by 60 percent by 2018;
  • builds on existing sectoral plans such as the National Industrial Revolution Plan and the Nigeria Integrated Infrastructure Master-plan;
  • signals a changing relationship between the public and private sector based on close partnership.
  • utilises the value of the merger of budget and planning functions into one Ministry to create a better and stronger link between annual budgets and the ERGP; and
  • provides for strong coordination with the States to ensure that the Federal and sub-regional governments work towards the same goals.

Vision Of Inclusive Growth

“The thinking behind the development of the Plan was driven by several fundamental principles, including a focus on tackling constraints to growth; leveraging the power of the private sector and promoting national cohesion and social inclusion, as well as allowing markets to function.

“The Plan has three broad strategic objectives which are expected to help achieve the vision of inclusive growth: restoring growth, investing in the people, and building a globally competitive economy.

“The ERGP focuses on achieving macroeconomic stability and economic diversification by undertaking fiscal stimulus, ensuring monetary stability and improving the external balance of trade.

“The delivery mechanism has been identified as a major determining factor in the successful implementation of the Plan. The implementation strategy therefore focuses on prioritising the identified strategies, establishing a clear system of accountability for well-defined assignment of responsibilities, setting targets and developing detailed action plans, allocating resources to prioritised interventions, creating an enabling policy and regulatory environment, developing an effective monitoring and evaluation system to track progress, and using effective communication strategies”.

Nasarawa Govt, Labour Reach Consensus Over Industrial Rift

Nasarawa, LabourThe Nasarawa State government and organised labour have reached a consensus over the lingering industrial dispute propelled by the payment of workers’ emolument in percentages.

The consensus was reached after a meeting of the tripartite committee set up by the state government at the deputy governor’s office in Lafia, the state’s capital in north-central Nigeria.

The meeting officially brought to climax series of meetings held by the committee with a view to resolving discrepancies that led to the July/August industrial action in the state and the continuous payment of workers’ salaries in percentages.

No Victor, No Vanquish

Giving a brief of the meeting which lasted for six hours, Chairman of the committee and Deputy Governor of Nasarawa State, Mr Silas Agara, told Channels Television that the state government and the labour union have amicably resolved all contending issues.

He said due to a number of factors considered by both parties, they have decided to shift grounds to allow a peaceful decision in the benefit and interest of the workers.

“We have amicably come to the final position and we have resolved all issues that made workers of Nasarawa State go on strike.

“Government on its own side shifted grounds, labour too have shifted grounds and as it is, there is no victor, no vanquish,” he said.

The 6-point agreement, reached by both labour and government, has the input of the representative of the Federal Ministry of Labour and Employment.

The agreement included the payment of July salaries by 50% which would be paid in two tranches to commence on Tuesday, December 13 with the other part to be paid in January 2017.

Consequently, the agreement also involved the state government paying December salaries by 50% due to shortfall in allocation from the Federal Government while the government would device a means to pay full salaries in 2017, even if it means accumulating two months allocations.

The government also agreed to pay the remaining months arrears from the first quarter of 2017 as soon as the economic situation of the state improves.

The organised labour, who spoke through Comrade Sule Odeh, expressed satisfaction and promised to cooperate with the government.

“We have signed an agreement between us and the government because all issues have been resolved, especially the issue of July/August salary payment which the government has agreed to pay” he said.

The representative of the Federal Ministry of Labour and Employment, Dalhatu Ahmad, on his part, appreciated both parties for reaching the consensus.

F.G Meets With Organised Labour, Mark Pleads With ASUU

The Federal Government and Organised Labour are expected to meet on Monday to review labour issues in the power sector and the education sector.

Top on the agenda will be the non-payment of terminal benefits for thousands of sacked workers, and alleged victimization of labour leaders in the massive sack of workers immediately after the take-over of the assets of Power Holding Company of Nigeria, PHCN.

The Academic Staff Union Of Universities, ASUU, would also be meeting on the same day with the leadership of the Nigeria Labor Congress, a day after the union advised parents not to endanger the lives of their children and wards by sending them to their university campuses.

ASUU, which also told its members not to sign attendance registers in their institutions, accused the Federal Government of lack of consistency in its statements on the ongoing strike.

However, the Senate President, Senator David Mark, has pleaded with ASUU to reconsider their position and return to classes to salvage the already battered education sector from further deterioration.

In a press statement, senator mark also urged the Federal Government not to use the sledge hammer on ASUU on account of the lingering strike.