By G9ija

The battle for a new minimum wage remained tough last night, with the tripartite committee resolving the knotty issue failing to reach a consensus on the figure.

Two figures – N30,000 and N24,000 – are to be proposed to President Muhammadu Buhari.

The N22,500 recommended by state governments was thrown out of the bargain.

But the plan to begin a strike today was shelved. Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) President Ayuba Wabba announced the decision. He said the committee’s report will be given to the President today.

Before the meeting went into a second session, last night, Chairman of the Tripartite Committee Ms Amal Pepple told reporters that what was left was to persuade the Labour unions to shelve the strike, which they planned to start today.

Ms Pepple said the committee would have to submit the N30,000 minimum wage demanded by the unions and the N24,000 proposed by the government to President Buhari for further action.

She said: “We have concluded and we had a little challenge with what we call chapter five of our record, that is why we resort to negotiation again.

“The Federal Government suggested N24, 000 and Labour and Organised Private Sector gave the figure of N30,000. There is no stalemate; we have finished and signed it. What we are insisting on is that the strike should be shelved. N24, 000 and N30, 000 were the figures we used for the negotiation. Remember that Labour gave the figure of N52, 500, but when we put that figure together, plus the figures we got from the states when we wrote to them; about 21 of them responded and some of them gave us figures which we put in the basket,” Pepple said.

Minister of Labour and Employment Chris Ngige said: “We are making progress. The governors’ figure should be the Federal Government’s figure; we are just trying to carry them along that is why we made the discussion tripartite plus, yes the figures are standing, you know that there are other processes. It has to go through the Council of State, through an Executive Bill which will be transmitted to the National Assembly.

“The Federal Government figure of N24, 000 is noted, because it is based on affordability and the ability to pay.

“The Labour is satisfied; we are doing the needful. The only aspect of it now that we need to do, is to fix an appointment of handing over the report to Mr. President.”

”Yes, we are reconvening tonight (last night) because that appointment had to be gotten. The President has gone home and … as soon as we get the appointment, we will reconvene and know what to do.

“The state governments have no choice now, because they have attached themselves to us,” he said.

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