The Federal Government has appealed to the organised labour not to embark on strike over the minimum wage bill in the National Assembly.
The Minister of Labour and Employment, Senator Chris Ngige made the appeal Tuesday at the meeting of the National Labour Advisory Council in Owerri, Imo State.
The event was declared open virtually by the Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo on behalf of the President Muhammadu Buhari.
Delivering his inaugural address, Ngige said much as he supports the organised labour’s opposition to the bill, they should not embark on strike on account of the development.
The bill, which is before the House of Representatives, seeks to remove the National Minimum Wage from the exclusive to the concurrent legislative list.
The minister said the labour needed not thank him for his position on the bill as he was reechoing the FG’s position reflected in its adoption of conventions of the International Labour Organisation on the minimum wage.
He said, “Although the council has been inactive, the Ministry in the spirit of Tripartism has ensured and maintained a sound tripartite relationship with social partners.
“For example, during the negotiation for the national minimum wage from 2017 to 2018, we used the tripartite plus composition of government, employers, employees and other interests- and for other interests, we made sure that it reflected the members of this council.
“That was why we got the Nigerian Governors Forum involved in that negotiation and we called it tripartite plus.
“Mr President of NLC, you didn’t need to thank me for what I said about the minimum wage bill because I was reechoing what the Nigerian government stood for by adopting the ILO Convention 28, the Minimum Wage Fixing Machinery Convention of 1928 (No.26) and the Minimum Wage Fixing Convention of 1970 (No131). From these conventions, the Minimum wage Act was signed in 1981. So, I am with you 100 percent but I don’t want you to go on strike on that.”
The President of the Nigerian Labour Congress, Ayuba Wabba commended Buhari for constituting the NLAC.
Chairman of Trade Union Congress, Quadri Olaleye represented by his deputy, Oyinkan Olasonye, praised Ngige for being hard working and industrious, but said they will continue to knock on his door “until we have total industrial peace.”