Minimum Wage: Govt plays hide and seek

The last has not been heard about the minimum wage brouhaha. A new policy by the Federal Government appeared to have force closed expectations by workers that something fantastic would come out of the tripartite committee meeting recommendation on the minimum wage to the Federal Government.

Henceforth, striking workers would not be paid for the period of the strike. This was the resolution of the Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting which met last Wednesday.

According to Dr. Chris Ngige, Minister of Labour and Employment, the approval of the “no work, no pay” principle is consistent with the recommendation of the Technical Committee on Industrial Relations Matters in the Federal Public Service.

The organized labour has since taken a swipe at the new policy coming at a time workers are embroiled in the agitation for new pay and are considering indefinite strike in the event that the Federal Government continues to prevaricate on the approval of the minimum wage.

To most workers, the policy is preemptory. “It is very clear that Government is not interested in implementing the minimum wage. Government knows that the only weapon the workers have is to embark on strike, which in itself is a democratic principle. The right to strike is a human and trade union right.But a situation where you decree that when workers go on strike they forfeit the pay for that period smacks of autocracy”.

Ngige however noted that “no work no pay” is only one leg of the policy. The other leg is that no organization has the right to lock out its workers on account of industrial dispute, among other provisions.

At the time of this report, the meeting of Nigeria Labour Congress is in progress to consider steps to be taken to press home the demand for minimum wage. Both Labour and Government have been divided on the amount recommended to the Federal Government as minimum wage for ratification.

 

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