The Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo, will lead the government negotiation with striking university lecturers, the Federal Executive Council, FEC, resolved on Wednesday.
The FEC meeting was chaired by President Muhammadu Buhari, the first such meeting attended by the president since April.
The lecturers, ASUU, have been on strike for about two weeks demanding implementation of previous agreements, full payment of salaries and improved government funding of universities.
We reported how a scheduled meeting between the lecturers and the government could not hold on Tuesday as ASUU said there was no reason for it.
The Minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige, on Wednesday after the Federal Executive Council meeting, confirmed that Mr. Osinbajo will now lead the negotiations.
“This is the first national strike that this government is facing and we want to discuss.
“At council today, the Vice President has taken over some of the aspects of the negotiations and discussions.
“So, we are continuing the meeting in his office and when we finish meeting, we will get back to ASUU for another round of meeting and we are hopeful that we will be able to go to an appreciable extent to solve some of the outstanding issues that is preventing them from going back to work,’’ he said.
On the national minimum wage committee, the minister stated that the federal government team was ready for the commencement of negotiation with the labour unions and other stakeholders.
He said already four ministers, Head of Service of the Federation and the acting Secretary to the Government of the Federation had been appointed to be part of the government team.
“The chairman will be unveiled when we have full component of the committee. The aspect that is delaying from inaugurating the committee is the organised private sector.
“The organised private sector has eight representatives of which Nigeria Employers Committee Assembly has four nominations and they have not sent their nominations.
“Manufacturers Association of Nigeria two nominations, their nominations just came in yesterday; Nigeria Association of Small Medium Enterprise one, they have not sent in their nomination.
“NACCIMA has not sent in their nominations. So, we are waiting for these nominations, when they come in the government will nominate the chairman and inaugurate the committee,’’ he explained.
The labour unions have demanded that the minimum wage be increased to at least N50,000.