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Labour, FG, Private Sector To Resume Minimum Wage Negotiations Friday

The last meeting on Tuesday was deadlocked as the Organised Labour rejected the ₦60,000 offer by the Federal Government.


Organised Labour
FILES: Labour leaders Festus Osifo (second left) and Joe Ajaero (second right) at the 2024 Workers’ Day in Abuja

 

 

The Tripartite Committee meeting on the new minimum wage will reconvene on Friday, May 31, 2024, as the Federal Government has extended an invitation to Organised Labour for the continuation of negotiations.

The letter which was signed by the Secretary of the Committee, Ekpo Nta, was sent to the Presidents of the two labour centres namely the Trade Union Congress (TUC) and the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC).

The scheduled meeting will be the seventh in the series of meetings by the committee, as members try to agree on what should be the new minimum wage.

The last meeting on Tuesday was deadlocked as the Organised Labour rejected the ₦60,000 offer by the Federal Government.

The labour representatives in the committee however adjusted their demands downward from the initial ₦497,000 naira minimum wage request to ₦494,000 naira

For months, labour unions and the Federal Government have been locked in negotiations over a new minimum wage with the former giving an ultimatum of May 31st.

Labour had initially demanded a  ₦615,000 minimum wage but reduced it twice – now at ₦494,000. The government and the Organised Private Sector had initially proposed ₦48,000 and ₦54,000 which were also rejected by the labour.

READ ALSO: Labour Dumps FG’s Fresh ₦60,000 Wage Offer, Shifts To ₦494,000

‘We Completely Reject It’

During a meeting of the committee on minimum wage on Tuesday, labour rejected the Federal Government’s new minimum wage proposal of N60,000.

According to TUC leader, Festus Osifo, the new proposal does not tally with the nation’s economic realities. He said with Nigeria’s inflation rate of 33.69% as of April 2024 based on data from the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), labour had to “completely reject” the Federal Government’s latest offer of ₦60,000.

“So, for us, we completely reject it. We want the government to be serious. Let them come and give us a breakdown of how a family is going to live with the minimum wage of ₦60,000,” he said.

“Remember, our ultimatum still subsists that we have issued on May 1st and today is the 28th day of May. So, what that clearly means is that we still have three days to resolve this matter.”

Since its inception, President Bola Tinubu has introduced a slew of reforms including the removal of fuel subsidies and the floating of the naira.

But Osifo has accused the Tinubu government of policy somersaults and not having “deep thinking”.

“So, for us, we would rate them 2.5 out of 10 which is 25%,” the TUC chief argued.

The labour unions said the current minimum wage of ₦30,000 can no longer cater to the wellbeing of an average Nigerian worker, lamenting that not all governors are paying the current wage award which expired in April 2024, five years after the Minimum Wage Act of 2019 was signed by former President Muhammadu Buhari. The Act should be reviewed every five years to meet up with contemporary economic demands of workers.

NLC President Joe Ajaero had described as “unsubstantial”, the fresh proposals by the government. “It is still not substantial compared to what we need to make a family moving,” the labour leader had said of the current ₦30,000 wage paid to workers in the country.

“The economy of the workers is destroyed. The workers don’t have any economy. I think there are two economies in the country; the economy of the bourgeoisie and the economy of the workers. I think we have to harmonise this so that we can have a meeting point,” Ajaero had said.