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Call off strike, return to negotiation table, FG begs Labour



The Federal Government has appealed to Organised Labour to call off the ongoing strike and return to the negotiation table in the best interest of the country.

The Minister of Information and National Orientation, Mohammed Idris, made the call at a press briefing in Abuja on Monday.

This was disclosed in a statement issued by Rabiu Ibrahim, the Special Assistant (Media) to the Minister of Information and National Orientation.

Idris was accompanied to the press briefing by the Minister of State for Labour, Hon Nkeiruka Onyejeocha, and the Special Adviser to the President on Information and Strategy, Mr. Bayo Onanuga.

He said, “This is a heartfelt and deeply considered appeal to the Labour Unions to continue along the path of negotiations with the Federal and State Governments, under the auspices of the Tripartite Committee that has been established to fashion out a new, realistic minimum wage for the Nigerian people.

“As Government, we are desirous of a peaceful outcome, and we will do everything to make this happen. Yesterday, the leadership of the National Assembly met with the Unions. Today, we have offered another invitation to the Unions, to meet with us and continue our discussions.

“We will continue to engage, and continue to make ourselves readily available in the context of these negotiations on behalf of the Nigerian people.”

The Minister reiterated the government’s position that Labour’s current proposal of N494,000, which translates into an annual wage bill of 9.5 Trillion Naira for the Federal Government of Nigeria alone is unrealistic and capable of crippling the Nigerian economy, by leading to massive job losses especially in the private sector.

Idris said the Federal Government has a responsibility to strike a measured and realistic balance, through collective bargaining, in its effort to arrive at a new minimum wage for Nigerians.

The Minister said the desire of President Tinubu to improve the living conditions of Nigerians goes beyond increase in minimum wage as several policies have been enacted to put more money into the pockets of Nigerians

He said the National Consumer Credit Scheme and the Nigerian Education Loan Fund (NELFUND) are additional significant demonstrations of President Tinubu’s determination to bring relief to the people of Nigeria.

“We want the Labour Unions to understand that the relief that Nigerians are expecting, and that they fully deserve, will not come only in the form of increased wages. It will also come as efforts to reduce the cost of living, and to ensure that more money stays in the pockets of Nigerians.

“President Bola Ahmed Tinubu (GCFR) is firmly committed to doing what is right, reasonable and sustainable regarding these minimum wage negotiations. We call on the Labour Unions to reciprocate this gesture in the interest of the nation,” he said.