Home News Minimum wage: Labour insists on May 31 deadline as talks resume today

Minimum wage: Labour insists on May 31 deadline as talks resume today

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The Federal Government and organised labour will Tuesday (today) restart the national minimum wage negotiation.

Ahead of today’s session, the Nigeria Labour Congress and the Trade Union Congress leadership held a meeting on Monday where they resolved that the national minimum wage negotiation must be finalised by May 31.

The unions in a communique issued after their joint National Executive Council meeting, signed by the NLC President, Joe Ajaero and his TUC counterpart, Festus Osifo,  insisted on the May 31 deadline.

The labour leaders had walked out of the last meeting of the tripartite committee on minimum wage negotiation after the Federal Government offered to pay N48,000 in response to labour’s proposed N615,000.

The Organised Private Sector, on the other hand, made an initial offer of N54,000.

After dumping the talks, the labour leaders expressed their displeasure with the Federal Government’s offer at a press conference.

The National President of the NLC, Ajaero, insisted on N615,000 minimum wage, arguing that the amount was arrived at after an analysis of the current economic situation and the needs of an average Nigerian family of six.

He accused the government of failing to provide any substantiated data to support its offer, noting that this undermined the credibility of the negotiation.

Ajaero justified their decision to abandon the negotiation, saying, “The government’s proposal of a paltry N48,000  as the minimum wage does not only insult the sensibilities of Nigerian workers but also falls significantly short of meeting our needs and aspirations.

“Though it is worth noting that even the least paid workers in the private sector receive N78,000 as clearly stated by the OPS, highlighting the stark disparity between the proposed minimum wage and prevailing standards further demonstrating the unwillingness of employers and Government to faithfully negotiate a fair national minimum wage for workers in Nigeria.’’

But in a move to revive the talks, the Chairman of the Tripartite Committee on National Minimum Wage, Alhaji Bukar Goni, invited the labour leaders to another round of negotiation.

He hinted that the government might raise the N48,000 it earlier proposed.

The former Head of the Civil Service of the Federation explained that he had discussed with the government representatives who assured him that they might make further concessions.

In the communique, the unions emphasized the urgency of reaching a fair and equitable agreement that reflects the true value of Nigerian workers’ contributions to the nation’s development and the current crisis of survival facing Nigerians as a result of the government’s policies.

The NEC affirmed its commitment to ensuring that the interests and welfare of workers are adequately protected in the negotiation process.

The statement read, “The NEC-in-session therefore reiterates the ultimatum issued by the NLC and TUC to the federal government, which expires on the last day of this month. It emphasises the non-negotiable nature of the demands put forth by Nigerian workers and urges the government to prioritize the resolution of these issues in the best interest of industrial peace.

“NEC-in-session further directed all state councils whose state Governments have yet to fully implement the N30,000 National Minimum Wage and its consequential adjustments to issue immediately a joint two-week ultimatum to the culpable state governments to avert industrial action.

“Consequently, the NEC-in-session accordingly reaffirms the NLC and TUC joint ultimatum earlier issued to the Anambra State government by its Anambra state councils. It, therefore, directed all affiliates and workers in the state council to mobilise their members to ensure a successful action in the event the state government fails to meet the demands of workers by Thursday, the 23rd of May, 2024.’’

Should the government fail to meet the demands outlined within the stipulated timeframe, the NEC authorised the leadership of the NLC and TUC to take appropriate actions, including but not limited to the mobilisation of workers for peaceful protests and industrial actions, to press home these demands for social justice and workers’ rights.

“NEC therefore calls on all affiliate unions, and workers including civil society organisations across Nigeria to remain united and steadfast in solidarity during this critical period. Together, we shall prevail in our pursuit of a fair and just society that guarantees the dignity and well-being of all its citizens.

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