04 July 2017, Sweetcrude, Abuja – The Nigeria Labour Congress has criticised the refusal of the Federal Government to constitute the Minimum Wage Committee to kickstart the process of negotiating a new Minimum Wage in the country.
The General Secretary of the NLC, Dr. Peter Ozo-Eson, who spoke to journalists in Abuja, described the delay in the setting up of the tripartite committee on the new Minimum Wage as scandalous.
The Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr. Chris Ngige, had announced on May 25, 2017, that the Federal Executive Council had approved the constitution of a 29-member tripartite committee for the negotiation of a new Minimum Wage in the country.
However, the government has not constituted the committee since the announcement by Ngige in May.
Ozo-Eson called on the Acting President, Yemi Osinbajo, to name a chairman for the committee and to direct all the parties involved to send their representatives to the committee to commence the process of negotiation.
He warned that the organizer Labour would be compelled to take a decision on the matter if the Federal Government continued with the delay in the constitution of the crucial committee.
He added that the absence of President Muhammadu Buhari from the country could not be an acceptable reason for the delay in the constitution of the panel as the country had an Acting President.
He said, “There is an acting President and therefore, he does not need to wait for the President before he sets up the committee. We expect that whoever needs to do what needs to be done, should do it and have the committee set up.
“All options remain open to Labour, you know in May, we had said that that needed to be done by May, it wasn’t done, but they then followed up quickly in June to say that Federal Executive Council (FEC) met and then approved and then approved. So if the FEC met and approved the process for setting up the committee, then all we needed to do then is to see the committee being set up.
“If this continues to be prolonged and it becomes obvious that government is not serious; it is just playing for time, then I think that labour and workers would have to take a decision on what their next steps would be through the usual avenue.
“He (the Acting President) should set up this committee, name the chairperson of the committee, ask the various components to send in their members to the committee and let the committee start its work immediately. That is my message to the Acting President. It is becoming scandalous that nothing is being done.”