[Breaking] Minimum wage: Meeting with Akpabio, Abbas, others deadlocked as Organised Labour insist on strike

Last minutes efforts made by the Federal Government and leadership of the National Assembly to stop the planned indefinite nationwide strike by the organised labour failed on Sunday night after four hours of heated deliberation.

Briefing journalists after the end of the meeting, the President of the Senate, Godswill Akpabio, said tremendous appeal was made to the Labour leaders to call off the strike as the National Assembly steps into the matter directly with President Bola Ahmed Tinubu.

“After about four hours deliberation with leadership of the Organised Labour, we resolved that the Federal Government should re-introduce the wage award of N35, 000 given to all categories of federal workers from October last year to February this year, pending the time the issue of minimum wage is resolved.

“We have appealed to the organised labour to shelve the strike action because of the consequences and collateral damage involved.

“For example, we cannot at this time allow hospitals to be shut down to save the lives of those on emergencies or aided by oxygen to breathe.

“We are very much aware of all the steps taken by the Federal Government and Labour to agree on acceptable minimum wage and very much ready to join in the negotiation by reaching out to President Bola Tinubu.

“We believe that leadership of the organised labour after leaving here, will reach out to their entire membership to call of the strike in the interest of all Nigerians,” he said.

The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon Tajudeen Abbas, in his own remarks said, “the take home from the meeting was that the federal government would be prevailed upon to re – introduce the N35, 000 wage award pending the time agreement on minimum wage is reached between it and the labour unions .

“That leadership of both the Nigeria Labour Congress ( NLC) and Trade Union Congress ( TUC ) , should go and consult with their members on the need to quickly call off the strike in the interest of Nigeria and Nigerians.”

However in his own submission after the meeting, the President of TUC, Comrade Festus Osifo, said though the leadership of the National Assembly has prevailed on us to call off the strike going by assurance given to step into the negotiation but the strike cannot be called off by them without consulting their various organs.

“It is difficult and infact impossible for us as labour leaders , to call off the strike here. We need to communicate with our various organs , meaning that , the
industrial action starts on Monday as planned, he said.

But the Minister of Information and National Orientation, Alhaji Mohammed Idris Malagi, expressed optimism that labour will call off the strike as soon as possible based on appeal made to them by leadership of the National Assembly.

He said the Federal government would continue to pay the N35,000 wage award to all categories of federal workers pending the minimum wage issue is resolved .

“Federal government is more than willing to pay its workforce , living minimum wage but the N494,000 demanded for by labour is too high with attendant N9 5trillion additional financial burden .

“In as much the federal government wants to improve the welfare and wellbeing of her 1 2million workers , is also very mindful of the welfare and wellbeing of the remaining 200million people.

“Nigeria cannot afford strike action now. The leadership of the labour union should please reason with government and appeal made to it by leaders of the National Assembly.”