National President of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Ayuba Wabba, has accused the Federal Government of delaying talks on a new national minimum wage for workers.
He also dismissed as misleading, speculations that talks between organised labour and the Federal Government has collapsed.
Wabba said the talks had not even started.
On May 26, a tripartite committee, led by Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Babachir Lawal, was set up on the matter.
While the Wabba faction of the NLC put forward a demand of N56,000 as a realistic minimum wage, that of Joe Ajaero asked for N90,000.
On its part, government proposed N45, 000 as the new minimum wage.
The joint committee is meant to iron out the differences in the various submissions.
According to Wabba, government is foot-dragging on the issue.
He said the tripartite structure that should consider the modalities for the implementation had not been inaugurated.
“Uptil now, government is still dragging its feet on talks about the minimum wage; the tripartite structure has not been put in place,” he said.
“The point we are making is that we have only agreed on the structure, but the structure has not been formed.
“We have agreed on the membership and the structure of the negotiating team which is going to be tripartite, so this is the point that we are now.
“But at the last meeting of the tripartite team which was held a day after the Sallah break, it was agreed that at the next meeting, all these issues will be sorted out.
“What happened was that government could not form a quorum at the last meeting of the palliative,” Mr. Wabba added.
According to him, apart from the Minister of Labour and the Secretary to the Government of the Federation that were at the meeting, key ministries were absent.
“Legitimately, we have a demand that is still pending with them including that of minimum wage and the palliative; therefore at the next meeting, I am certain that we will give government notice.”
Asked if the government was reluctant in setting up a team for the implementation of the minimum wage, Mr. Wabba said he would not speak for the government.
“Well, I can’t speak on the side of the government, but we are committed in making our demand, it is left for them to tell Nigerians whether they are committed to it or not,” he said.
According to the NLC president, the union would pursue the issue of the minimum wage to its logical conclusion.