The Federal Government disagreed with the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) on Thursday over the new minimum wage demanded by workers in the country.
The disagreement was a result of the twist in the lingering controversy, as the government said it would implement the ‘no work no pay’ policy.
Director of Trade Union Services at the Ministry of Labour, Omabie Akpan, and NLC President, Ayuba Wabba, spoke on the matter when they appeared on Channels Television.
Following the impasse in the new minimum wage, Akpan insisted that the government would implement the “no work, no pay policy”.
According to the government official, it is wrong for labour leaders to embark on an industrial action while negotiations are ongoing.
Wabba, however, gave a different opinion, arguing that it was the fundamental right of workers to proceed on strike as enshrined in the labour laws.
He stressed that the rights of the Nigerian workers must be protected, as they are what separate them from slaves.
The disagreement between the government and the labour body comes three weeks after the organised labour called off the nationwide strike it embarked upon in September.
Wabba explained that the industrial action was due to the refusal of the government to reconvene the meeting of the Tripartite Committee to enable it to conclude its work on the new national minimum wage demanded by workers.
in the mean time the Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF) says most states lack the capacity to pay the new national minimum wage.
NGF Chairman and Zamfara State Governor, Abdul’Aziz Yari, disclosed this to reporters at the end of the forum’s meeting held on Wednesday in Abuja.
He said although the governors are not against a new minimum wage for workers, arriving at a new wage structure was difficult for them.
Governor Yari explained that this is because many states are currently unable to pay the existing N18,000 minimum wage. He revealed that the forum invited the President of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Ayuba Wabba.
The NGF chairman said this was to determine the number of states owing salaries that have paid some of the arrears since the last Paris Club refund was shared.
The NLC and the Federal Government have been embroiled in a debate over a new minimum wage for workers, which recently led to a nationwide industrial action by the labour body.