Chris Ngige, Minister of Labour and Employment has described organised labour’s 14-day ultimatum for the FG to reopen talks on minimum wage as a ‘subtle blackmail’.

Ngige explained that his engagement with the trio of committees formed by the federal government is a pointer to their seriousness.

He pointed out that the meeting could have been earlier scheduled but for the China journey most of the major stakeholders embarked upon.

He however expressed confidence in the possibility of the meeting to hold soon.

“The following facts speak in that direction, if the federal government is not interested why did Mr President inaugurate the presidential committee on the new national minimum wage,” he said.

“If it is not interested, Mr President would have asked me to do an inter-ministerial meeting, but Mr President took interest and set up a presidential committee.

“This presidential committee, he monitors it and I also brief him from time to time, both written and verbally.

“As a matter of fact, before the meeting adjourned last week, I have told the committee that the economic management team could not hold.

“This is due to the fact that most people in the team travelled with Mr President to China.

“Also if the federal government is not interested, why will l brief the entire tripartite committee and tell them that work is in progress.”

The minister also noted that he had requested for two weeks from the committee to enable the federal government delegation consult with state government delegation.

“That means that the meeting can be called at any time, in one day or within three days which is still stipulated within the month of September,” he said.

“So it is very surprising to know that labour gave ultimatum of 14 days to the federal government, this is uncalled for and a subtle blackmail to the federal government.”

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