Labour Suspends Planned Strike as Talks With FG Continues Today

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SWITZERLAND, OCTOBER 16 – Labour suspended its planned strike as both sides agreed to continue negotiations today (Wednesday).

Organised labour on Tuesday demanded documents from the Federal Government to support its claims during a negotiation on the consequential adjustments on the New National Minimum Wage.

The Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr Chris Ngige, at the opening of the meeting, said the demand of the workers before the negotiation would shut down the economy.

But a source at the five hours  meeting, which started at  2.45pm, said that the labour leaders and the government’s representatives made concessions, according to media sources. He added that they failed to reach a definite agreement on the salary adjustments.

Before the meeting, labour was demanding 29 per cent salary increase for officers at salary grade levels 07 to 14  and 24  per cent  adjustment for officers at salary grade levels 15 to 17, while the Federal Government proposed an 11 per cent increase for officers at  grade level 07 to 14   and  6.5 per cent adjustment for workers at grade level 15 to 17.

The meeting broke into  sessions on a few occasions when labour and government teams had to leave the general session to meet their teams separately before continuing with the joint session.

Our correspondent learnt that the labour team demanded a number of documents from government’s team to verify claims made by the Federal Government during the negotiation.

According to a source, who was part of the workers’ team  at the meeting,  labour lowered its position to 20 and 25 per cent,  while government increased its offer to 17 per cent for workers at grade levels 07 to 09, 15 per cent for those at grade levels 10 to 14 and 12 per cent for workers at grade level 15 to 17.

The source said, “The two sides made concessions but in addition to the Federal Government concession, the team also introduced  innovations which is strange to us. But we have asked for documents to back that position. However, whatever figures presented now at the meeting are mere proposals that labour is going home to examine critically before tomorrow’s (today) meeting.”

It was also learnt that the minister pleaded with the union leaders to consider the present state of the nation’s economy in their demands. He said after the meeting that he was happy that there was no walkout or fight during the deliberation.

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