Written by Soji-Eze Fagbemi, Abuja Friday, 29 July 2011
AS anticipated by many Nigerians, the Federal Government, on Thursday bowed out of the gentleman’s agreement reached with the organised labour and Nigerian workers on the payment of the N18,000 national minimum wage on July 19,
which informed the suspension of a three-day warning strike scheduled to begin on Wednesday last week.
The Federal Government, in the Agreement with Labour signed on its behalf by the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Senator Anyim Pius Anyim, Labour Minister, Chief Emeka Wogu and the Head of the Civil Service of the Federation, Professor Oladapo Afolabi agreed, amongst other issues, that the Federal Government would comply with the New National Minimum Wage (Amendment) Act 2011.
The agreement also said that the Federal Government shall conclude negotiations with labour on the implementation of the New National Minimum Wage not later than July 31, 2011.
At about 4.00 p.m on Thursday, the Federal Government, in a meeting with labour, unilaterally repudiated the agreement and Professor Afolabi, who announced the government’s position, insisted that the Federal Government would only pay Grade Levels 01 to 06, as against the letter of the agreement.
Besides, the Federal Government went on to threaten that if labour insisted, it would not even pay at all.
Following the meeting, the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and the Trade Union Congress (TUC), at a joint press conference on Thursday evening, said the government is inviting anarchy and called on all workers to begin renewed mobilisation for “the mother of all strikes.”
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We can’t pay minimum wage -FG •You’re inviting anarchy -Labour