JONATHAN BEGS LABOUR, MINIMUM WAGE NOT EXECUTIVE FIAT
President Goodluck Jonathan has appealed to the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and the Trade Union Congress to be patient with government on implementation of a new national minimum wage of N18,000 because it does come with executive fiat.
While fielding questions from airport correspondents at the Presidential wing of the Murtala Mohammed International Airport, Lagos, President Jonathan noted that the minimum wage issue is one that must be amicably resolved between the government and labour as it involves passing through all strata including the National Assembly.
The President assured that the government was concerned and passionate about the issues raised by labour and that was the reason the National Council of States which hardly meets more than once in a year was set to meet for the third time to discuss the issues.
According to him, labour should stand down on the strike action planned for November 10-12th as it has in a few years increased the minimum wage from 7,500 to ,17,000. President Jonathan said the current N1,000 difference in N18,000 that labour is agitating for should not generate upheaval in the relationship that the government shares with labour.
He also emphasised that wage increase should be championed instead of dwelling on minimum wage increase which also affects the private sector. According to him, if the Federal Government could pay the level 1 step 1 who is a primary school leaver the said minimum wage, the increase would affect other tiers of government which includes various ranks and files, a situation that can hardly be accommodated by the states, local governments and private sector operators in the country.
Labour had in a statement Friday while insisting on the strike said, 'The N18,000 minimum wage is the outcome of the tripartite committee on the national minimum wage established by the Federal Government and inaugurated on July 14, 2009 by the Secretary to the Federal Governm