Labour’s Nationwide Protest Holds as Parley with FG Adjourns to Tuesday

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*Ngige: Minimum wage bill may be ready end of January

By Onyebuchi Ezigbo in Abuja

The nationwide protest planned by organised labour to press for the transmission of the new minimum wage bill to the National Assembly will go ahead despite the meeting between the federal government and representatives of the unions.

At the end of the meeting between the federal government team and labour movement Monday night, both sides failed to settle the contentious issue about raising a bill for the new national minimum wage.

Addressing journalists, the President of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Comrade Ayuba Wabba, said the meeting was fruitful as it addressed a number of issues of concern but that more consultations needed to be made, hence the adjournment of talks to Tuesday’s afternoon.

When asked if the labour protest will still go ahead, Wabba said: “The protest is about the implementation of the minimum wage and I don’t think it has anything to do with the continuation of talks.”

On his part, the Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr. Chris Ngige, said that efforts will be made to get the new minimum wage bill ready by next week.

He explained that as part of the process for raising the bill, it would be taken to the National Executive Council, after which the draft bill will be presented to the meeting of the National Economic Council and then the National Council of States meeting before finally being forwarded to the National Assembly.

“We are trying to see if we can accommodate it within the ambit of the issues to be taken up during the Federal Executive Council meeting next week and if we are able to do that then we can take it up from there and go on till we present it to the Council of States meeting and then to the National Assembly. Hopefully we may be able to conclude that by the end of January,” he said.