JUST IN: Labour Rejects N54,000 Minimum Wage Proposal, Negotiations Stalled

By Joke Kujenya

NEGOTIATIONS OVER a new minimum wage have hit a standstill as organized labour turned down the Federal Government‘s revised offer of N54,000, according to a reliable source who attended the talks.

The meeting, which occurred on Tuesday, adjourned until Wednesday without reaching an agreement.

The FG had previously increased its minimum wage proposal from N48,000 to N54,000, a move that came after a walkout by labour representatives last week when the initial offer was deemed insufficient.

Despite the government’s increased proposal, labour unions remain firm on their demand for a N615,000 living wage, which they argue is necessary to meet the basic needs of an average Nigerian family of six.

Joe Ajaero, National President of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), reiterated the union’s stance, stating that the N615,000 figure was derived from an analysis of the prevailing economic conditions.

He criticized the government’s lack of engagement and transparency, pointing out that state governors did not attend the meetings, and their representatives lacked the authority to make binding decisions.

The negotiations, part of the efforts by the Tripartite Committee on Minimum Wage inaugurated by Vice-President Kashim Shettima on January 30, 2024, have been contentious.

The 37-member committee, which includes representatives from federal and state governments, the private sector, and organized labour, was tasked with recommending a new minimum wage before the current N30,000 minimum expires on April 18.

Throughout the zonal public hearings held in March, various proposals were put forward by different states, the South-West demanded N794,000, the North-Central N709,000, the South-South N850,000, the North-West N485,000, and the South-East N540,000.

Despite these regional differences, organized labour settled on a unified demand of N615,000.

The labour unions have set a deadline of May 31, 2024, for the implementation of the new wage, underscoring the urgency of the matter.

They have accused the government and the Organised Private Sector (OPS) of not negotiating in good faith, a sentiment echoed in a joint statement from the NLC and the Trade Union Congress (TUC).

Ajaero further called on the government to come to the negotiation table with a more reasonable and substantiated offer that reflects the contributions and needs of Nigerian workers, insisting that the unions remain steadfast in their commitment to securing a fair wage that aligns with the current economic realities facing the country.

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