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Minimum Wage: Labour rejects FG’s N48,000 offer

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.As NLC president, Joe Ajaero storms out of meeting

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By AKOR SYLVESTER-Abuja

The organized labour yesterday rejected the N48,000 offered by the Federal government as new minimum wage for Nigerian workers, saying the Bola Tinubu’s administration was taking workers for granted over it’s decision on wage issues.

The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and the Trade Union Congress (TUC) unanimously alleged that the federal government which set up minimum wage negotiation committee, only succeeded in reducing minimum wage, not increasing it.

They said government abandoned negotiation principles and threw N48,000 on workers, stating that workers would not accept the ill-conceived decision.

In an emergency press conference by the labour bodies in Abuja yesterday evening, the union called on Federal government to reverse the offer for an acceptable one within two weeks of the standing ultimatum, or face industrial action.

The President of the NLC, Joe Ajaero while speaking at the event said the highest organ of Labour would meet at the expiration of the already standing ultimatum and take appropriate decision on the matter, calling on Nigerians to bear with them.

In the text of the press conference he read, Ajaero said “”The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and Trade Union Congress (TUC) express profound disappointment as negotiations at the Tripartite National Minimum Wage resumed today but reached an unfortunate impasse as result of the apparent unseriousness of the Government to engage in reasonable negotiation with Nigerian workers.

“Despite earnest efforts to reach an equitable agreement, the less than reasonable action of the Government and the Organised Private Sector (OPS) has led to a breakdown in negotiations.

“The Government’s proposal of a paltry N48,000 (forty-eight thousand Naira) as the Minimum Wage does not only insult the sensibilities of Nigerian workers but also falls significantly short of meeting our needs and aspirations. In contrast the Organised Private Sector (OPS) proposed an initial offer of N54,000 (fifty-four thousand Naira) though it is worth noting that even the least paid workers in the private sector receives N78,000 (seventy-eight thousand Naira per month) as clearly stated by the OPS, highlighting the stark disparity between the proposed minimum wage and prevailing standards further demonstrating the unwillingness of Employers and Government to faithfully negotiate a fair National Minimum Wage for Workers in Nigeria.

“Furthermore, the Government’s failure to provide any substantiated data to support their offer exacerbates the situation. This lack of transparency and good faith undermines the credibility of the negotiation process and erodes trust between the parties involved.

“As representatives of Nigerian workers, we cannot in good conscience accept a wage proposal that would result in a reduction in income for federal-level workers who are already receiving N30,000 (thirty thousand Naira) as mandated by law, augmented by Buhari’s 40% Peculiar allowance (N12,000) and the N35,000 (thirty-five thousand Naira) wage award, totaling N77,000 (seventy- seven thousand Naira) only. Such a regressive step would undermine the economic well-being of workers and their families and is unacceptable in a National Minimum Wage Fixing process.

“In light of these developments, and in order to prevent the negotiation of a wage deduction, the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and Trade Union Congress (TUC) have taken the decision to walk out of the negotiation process. We remain committed to advocating for the rights and interests of Nigerian workers and will continue to engage in reasonable dialogue with the Government if they show serious commitment to find a fair and sustainable resolution to this impasse.

“We call upon the Government to reconsider its position and come to the negotiation table with clear hands that reflects the true value of the contributions made by Nigerian workers to the nation’s development and the objective socioeconomic realities that confronts not just Nigerian workers but Nigerians today as a result of the policies of the federal government. Together, in a reasonable dialogue, we can work to give Nigerian workers a N615,000 (Six hundred and Fifteen thousand Naira) National Minimum wage as proposed by us on the basis of evidence and Data.

“This will be in keeping with the pledge of the President; his Excellency Senator Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s pledge to ensure a Living wage for Nigerian workers”

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