NLC Cautions FG, States against Accumulation of Huge Arrears on Minimum Wage

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 Onyebuchi Ezigbo in Abuja

The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) has advised the federal and state governments to quicken the pace of negotiations on the template to implement the new minimum wage of N30,000

The federal government minimum wage implementation committee under the chairmanship of the Head of Service has been deliberating on the modality for spreading the new wage across board.

Also, some states have constituted a negotiation team made up of government and workers representatives, while others are yet to commence the process.

The N30, 000 new Minimum Wage Act came into effect on May 18 when the bill was signed into law by President Muhammadu Buhari.

Speaking with THISDAY yesterday, the General Secretary of the NLC, Mr. Esom Peter Esom, said there is a need to make haste in arriving at the payment template so that the government would not have to be faced with fresh challenge of offsetting accumulated arrears.

On whether there is a timeline for the talks, Esom said: “No, the only thing is that we expect negotiations to be concluded fast because allowing it to drag unnecessarily for too long will bring another problem of accumulated arrears.”

Esom, who said NLC is not directly involved in the ongoing negotiations, however, stated that the congress is monitoring the process from the background and is prepared to intervene if the need arises.

“There is a team made up civil service based-unions joint negotiating council which is negotiating the consequential aspect of the new minimum wage. We have not received report from them but we know that they are yet to conclude their work,” he said.

When further asked whether there has been deadlock in the negotiations as was being speculated, Esom said although there may be disagreeable areas, negotiations are still in progress and there is every chance of reaching a compromise at the end of the day.