NLC Insists on N250K Living Wage, Rejects FG’s N62,000 Offer

By Joke Kujenya

LABOUR UNIONS in Nigeria, embodied by the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) and the Trade Union Congress (TUC), have firmly rejected the government’s proposed minimum wage of N62,000, branding it a “starvation wage.”

Chris Onyeka, Assistant General Secretary of the NLC, reiterated the unions’ demand for a N250,000 minimum wage stressing that neither the N62,000 proposed by the government nor the N100,000 suggested by some economists meets the basic needs of workers.

“Our position is very clear. We will not negotiate a starvation wage,” he stated, citing the high costs of essential goods like rice, yam, and garri.

The unions have given the Federal Government a deadline until midnight on Tuesday, June 11, 2024, to meet their demands.

Failure to do so could lead to the resumption of the nationwide industrial action that was temporarily halted last week,” he said.

“The FG and the National Assembly have the call now,” Onyeka said, urging the government to submit an Executive Bill to the National Assembly that aligns with the workers’ demands.

Last week, the NLC and TUC led a two-day nationwide strike that disrupted businesses and essential services, including airports, hospitals, and the national grid.

The strike was paused after the government showed a willingness to discuss a wage above N60,000. However, recent negotiations have not yet produced an agreement.

Also, the government’s latest offer of N62,000, an increase from the initial proposal of N60,000, remains unacceptable to the unions, which initially demanded N615,000 before revising their demand to N250,000.

Despite backing from the organized private sector for the government’s offer, the unions are resolute in their stance.

The NLC and TUC said they are still prepared to reconvene and decide on further actions if the government’s response by Tuesday does not meet their demands.

President Bola Tinubu had earlier directed the Minister of Finance, Wale Edun, to present a new minimum wage template, but a consensus has yet to be reached.

The government’s latest offer of N62,000, up from an earlier proposal of N60,000, has been deemed inadequate by the unions, which initially demanded N615,000 before revising their demand to N250,000.

The organized private sector has backed the government’s offer, but the unions remain firm in their stance.

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