In a crucial closed door meeting held yesterday between the FG and the Nigerian Labour Congress regarding the payment of the minimum wages and the impending strike. Emeka Wogu, Minister of Labour said the Government can only implement payment of the minimum wage for levels 1 – 6 and that the Government would include the payment of the levels 7 – 16 in January when a new budget comes to effect.
Anyim Pius Anyim who represented President Goodluck Jonathan at the meeting in Abuja said, “The President said that we should not break the law. (He said) we should invite the labour leaders to let them know that we would pay (workers on) levels one to six and then include the funds for the payment of the relativity in the next budget, so that with effect from January, it can take off.
“We have no problem agreeing with labour; everything is clear, but we cannot go against the law. The only way we can raise money is through budgeting; another budgeting season is around the corner, so that we can commence the implementation of the law from January.
“The Federal Government has made budgetary provisions to pay the new wage to workers from grade level one to six, who are known to earn below N18,000. You have demanded that the Act should apply to all categories of workers in the country.
The Labour has however refused the FG’s proposal saying that they are yet to see where the Government sincerity lies. Esele argued that the Federal Government, which had provided over N100bn for the Independent National Electoral Commission before the April polls, should in like-manner provide a few billions for the payment of the new wage.
Sources say the strike will still go on on Wednesday as planed.