Former Governor of Anambra State and current minister of labour and employment, Dr Chris Ngige, has revealed that the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari is currently reviewing the Labour’s call for a national minimum wage of N56,000.
Ngige, while speaking during a meeting with the executive members of the Organisation of Trade Unions of West Africa (OTUWA) yesterday in Abuja, explained that there was nothing wrong with the clamour for a raise in the minimum wage.
Ngige said: “The other day, labour requested increased wages for workers and they have only done what they are supposed to do. Therefore, nobody will quarrel with them. At the appropriate time, we shall all sit down because what the labour is asking is for the re-negotiation of an existing Collective Bargain Agreement (CBA). And every CBA-based agreement is subject to re-negotiation at any given time that any of the partners requests it,” he said
Ngige debunked the notion that whenever labour makes such a demand, it means that the workforce is at loggerheads with the government.
“It is wrong for people to think that whenever the labour makes such a demand, the nation is boiling. The labour in Nigeria has for the first time met a labour-friendly government under President Muhammadu Buhari.
“The government has put machinery in motion as we speak because I have got a letter as the Minister of Labour and Employment for my advice. We shall advise the government the way such a tripartite negotiation will be handled so that everybody will be satisfied without any industrial unrest.
“Government in this sense includes also the state and local governments whom such wages will be binding on. When government takes a decision, we will now move to another stage in the process of re-negotiating the CBA,” he said.
He further stated that the change mantra of the Buhari administration is geared towards changing the way things are done for the better.
“We are in an era where due process supersedes every other. People can only perform their roles and give way for other people to also perform theirs,” he said, adding that labour is part of the tripartite arrangement of the International Labour Organisation structure which Nigeria is signatory to.