Organised labour yesterday suspended its planned nationwide strike slated to begin today (Wednesday) as the federal government made a new offer which was yet to be accepted by labour.
It was gathered that at a meeting held with labour in Abuja yesterday, the federal government shifted ground on its proposal for minimum wage consequential adjustment from 11 per cent to 17 for workers on grade levels 7 to 14 and from 6.5 per cent to 12 for those on grade levels 15 to 17.
For its part, labour which had insisted on 29 per cent wage increase for workers on grade levels 7 to14 and 24 per cent for those on grade levels 15 to 17, shifted position from 29 per cent to 25 per cent for levels 7-17 and from 24 per cent to 20 per cent for levels 15 to 17.
As no agreement was reached labour announced suspension of the strike as both sides return to negotiation today.
Labour also demanded documents from the federal government to support its claim during a negotiation on the consequential adjustments on the New National Minimum Wage.
Briefing the media after the meeting, journalists, Ngige affirmed that talks would resume today to resolve some contentious issues.
“I serve as the conciliator so I am not on any side. I belong to the two parties. As you can see, there was no fight and no walkout. That shows that things are going on well. We will continue tomorrow (Wednesday) because of areas that we could not touch.”
Also speaking, the head of the civil service of the federation, Dr. Folasade Yemi-Esan, said the deliberation was “fruitful” as “both sides have made concessions.”
“We have worked together and both sides have made a lot of concessions but we discovered that there are areas to be ironed out. There are some documents and information that are being sought and which we are providing. We will continue tomorrow with the belief that we will reach an agreement,” she added.
For his part, the deputy president of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Mr. Amaechi Asugwuni said today’s meeting will decide the fate of both parties.
“For us at labour, the matters are straightforward but negotiations are still going on. We thought the meeting would be concluded today (yesterday) but that prediction was not successful. Therefore, adjournment became necessary. The struggle will still continue.
“We will meet again tomorrow (Wednesday) and that meeting will decide the fate of both parties. So far, commitments have been shown by both parties but we believe that the areas that are still in contest are critical and we urge government to see how it can shift ground positively. We expect that Wednesday’s meeting will end positively,” he said.