Labour Unions Firmly Reject Token Increase to Minimum Wage Citing Rising Inflation

By Jemimah Wellington, JKNMedia Reporter

ORGANIZED LABOUR leadership said it has taken a resolute stance, and strongly demanding for substantial wage adjustments to keep pace with inflation and maintain workers’ purchasing power.

The labour unions insist they are adamant about not accepting minimal increases to the proposed N60,000 minimum wage from the federal government.

Noting that in their recent negotiations with the government which resulted in an agreement to set a new minimum wage above the N60,000 threshold, they were forced to resort to declaring a nationwide strike on June 3.

Festus Osifo, President of the Trade Union Congress (TUC), articulated this position during an interview on Channels Television’s Politics Today, where he emphasized that while N494,000 has been cited as a target, the unions’ primary concern is securing a meaningful raise that reflects the inflation-adjusted value of previous minimum wages, such as N30,000 in 2019 and N18,000 in 2014.

Recall that the labour unions had initiated an indefinite strike on Monday to protest the government’s reluctance to significantly increase the minimum wage, however, this strike was temporarily relaxed for one week following an extraordinary meeting of the National Executive Council (NEC) of both the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and the TUC.

The NLC says it is also expressed deep dissatisfaction with the federal government’s failure to address the recent electricity tariff hike, implemented on April 3.

This concern was voiced in a statement following the NEC meeting where the decision was made to suspend the strike for one week. The government had agreed to raise the minimum wage above N60,000 in discussions with the unions on Monday but has yet to respond to demands for reversing the electricity tariff increase.

The NLC, in its statement highlighted the urgency of alleviating the financial burden on Nigerian workers and the general public.

“The NEC reaffirms that these issues are critical to alleviating the financial burden on Nigerian workers and the general populace. The electricity tariff hike and discriminatory Band classification remain unacceptable and must be addressed alongside the wage increase,” read the statement.

The electricity tariff hike, recently approved by the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC), increased rates to over N200 per kWh for customers receiving 20-24 hours of power supply.

This decision has sparked widespread public discontent. In an attempt to mitigate the backlash, the government announced a minor reduction of N18, adjusting the tariff to N208.80 per kWh for Band A customers.

However, this reduction has not placated the NLC, TUC, and other concerned organizations, which continue to demand a complete reversal of the tariff increase, the statement reflects.

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