The issue of the new minimum wage demanded by labour looks to be far from over as the National Industrial Court of Nigeria sitting in Abuja ordered both Organised Labour led by the NLC and TUC as well as the Nigerian Federal Government to submit a report of their negotiations on the dispute between both parties over the new minimum wage by January 30, 2019.
The order is pursuant to a case which had been brought before the Industrial Court by the Federal Government to stop the proposed strike by organised labour on November 6.
Subsequently, the presiding Judge, Justice Sanusi Kado had on November 2, 2018 adjourned the case till Thursday after issuing an ex parte order stopping the planned strike action by Organised Labour.
Despite the order however, the strike had been averted after an agreement was reached and signed between labour and the Nigerian Federal Government as N30,000 was presented by the tripartite committee as a new minimum wage figure to President Buhari in a bid to placate Labour.
At the resumed hearing of the case on Thursday, the three defendants; the Nigeria Labour Congress, the Trade Union Congress and the Nigeria Governors’ Forum, were absent and were also not represented by any lawyer.
The Plaintiffs which include; the Nigerian Federal Government as well as the Attorney-General of the Federation, Mr. Abubakar Malami, were duly represented by their legal team led by Mr. Emmanuel Omonowa.
Upon the absence of the defence team, the counsel for the plaintiff, Omonowa informed the judge that based on the order made by the court on November 2 negotiations on the new minimum wage were ongoing.
Consequently, he pleaded with the court to give more time to the parties in the suit to enable them to continue with the negotiations and later give a report on the negotiation efforts to the court;
“Pursuant to Order 42(1) of the National Industrial Court Rules, the court should allow parties to see the possibility of amicable settlement of the matter,” he said
Upon the request, Justice Kado restated his order of November 2, prohibiting Organised Labour from going on strike; he also warned all parties involved not to jeopardize the case in any way.
Consequently, the presiding Judge adjourned till January 30, 2019 for both parties to report to the court on whether or not they had settled amicably or would still be interested in going further with the case.