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NLC suspend strike as negotiations continue

Amadin Ogbewe

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The Nigeria Labour Congress NLC, has suspended the nationwide strike scheduled to hold today 16th of October over the increases in wages.

The congress and the Federeal Government decided to continue its negotiations today (Wednesday) before coming to a conclusion. 

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.

According to a source, the parties were unable to finalize an agreement on the adjustments as Labour had demanded adjustments to the percentage increase in salary levels. 

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. 

Labour had 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 reports Punch.

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.”

Briefing journalists, Ngige said, 

“I serve as the conciliator so I am not on any side. I belong to the two parties. As you can see, there was no fight and no walkout. That shows thatthings are going on well. We will continue tomorrow (Wednesday) because of areas that we could not touch.”

Addressing the media, the Nigeria Labour Congress Deputy President, Amaechi Asugwuni said, 

“For us at labour, the matters are straightforward but negotiations are still going on. We thought the meeting would be concluded today but that prediction was not successful. Therefore, adjournment became necessary. The struggle will still continue.

“We will meet again tomorrow (Wednesday) and that meeting will decide the fate of both parties. So far, commitments have been shown by both parties but we believe that the areas that are still in contest are critical and we urge government to see how it can shift ground positively. We expect that Wednesday’s meeting will end positively.”

The Head of the Civil Service of the Federation, Dr Folashade Yemi-Esan, who spoke for the government team added, 

“We have worked together and both sides have made a lot of concessions but we discovered that there are areas to be ironed out. There are some documents and information that are being sought and which we are providing. We will continue tomorrow with the belief that we will reach an agreement.

READ: NLC announces prolonged strike action over N30000 minimum wage

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