Home Nigeria Minimum Wage: NLC denies Tinubu’s claim on agreement, insists on N250,000

Minimum Wage: NLC denies Tinubu’s claim on agreement, insists on N250,000

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The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) has refuted claims by President Bola Tinubu that an agreement on a new minimum wage has been reached.

During his Democracy Day broadcast on Wednesday, President Tinubu announced that a consensus had been reached between the federal government and organised labour on a new national minimum wage.

He stated that an executive bill would soon be sent to the National Assembly to formalise the agreement, emphasising his administration’s preference for a democratic approach over dictatorship in dealing with labour unions.

NLC’s Response

However, the Acting President of the NLC, Adewale Adeyanju, in a statement on Wednesday, said no agreement was reached by the Tripartite Committee on the National Minimum Wage as of the conclusion of negotiations on Friday, 7 June.

“Our demand remains N250,000, and we have not been presented with any compelling reasons to alter this position, which we consider a significant concession by Nigerian workers during the negotiation process,” Mr Adeyanju stated.

He said there is a need to inform President Tinubu, Nigerians, and other concerned parties that there appears to be a misunderstanding about the negotiation’s outcome.

According to him, those who briefed the president did not provide an accurate account of the negotiation’s conclusion.

Alleged intimidation

Mr Adeyanju said it would be difficult to accept a minimum wage that equates to starvation.

“It will be extremely difficult for Nigerian workers to accept any national minimum wage that equates to a starvation wage. We cannot continue to work and yet live in abject poverty,” he said.

He said labour acknowledged the president’s commitment to democratic principles, which allowed the Tripartite National Minimum Wage Negotiation Committee to work without interference despite some challenges.

However, he said labour had hoped President Tinubu would harmonise the two figures submitted by the Tripartite Committee in favour of the workers, which would have been an appropriate Democracy Day gesture.

Contrary to President Tinubu’s assertion, Mr Adeyanju said the NLC maintained that no agreement was reached with the federal government or employers on the base figure for a minimum wage or its other components.

The NLC expressed surprise at the president’s claim of an agreement, suggesting he might have been misled.

The NLC also raised concerns about intimidation and harassment from government operatives during the negotiation process. Mr Adeyanju said that fully armed soldiers surrounded them during negotiations and that recent statements from senior government officials have reaffirmed their fears.

Strike resumption

Premium Times reported that organised labour might reconvene to decide on the resumption of the suspended strike if the federal government and National Assembly failed to meet its minimum wage demand by midnight on Tuesday.

Chris Onyeka, the assistant general secretary of the NLC, indicated on Channels Television’s ‘The Morning Brief’ show on Monday that Nigerian workers, under the NLC and Trade Union Congress (TUC), had suspended their strike for one week to resume negotiations with the government.

During the last meeting of the Tripartite Committee on the New Minimum Wage held on Friday in Abuja, labour reduced its demand to N250,000 from N494,000, while the federal government increased its offer from N60,000 to N62,000.

Government representatives stated that they would present this figure to President Tinubu for further action.

Mr Onyeka warned that if the federal government and the National Assembly do not meet labour’s demand, the strike might resume.

“If our demand is not met, the one-week notice we issued will expire tomorrow. If we do not receive a tangible response by then, the organs of organised labour will meet to decide our next steps,” he said.

The NLC re-emphasised its stance against accepting what it terms “starvation wages” such as N62,000 or N100,000.

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