• Tuesday, June 18, 2024
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Organised private sector backs N60,000 minimum wage proposal

Labour rejects FG’s N60,000 minimum wage offer

The Director-General of the Manufacturing Association of Nigeria, Ajayi Kadri, confirmed on Saturday that the organised private sector has accepted the Federal Government’s proposal for a new minimum wage of N60,000.

Speaking during an interview with Channels TV, Kadri clarified that current negotiations between the government, private sector, and labour focus on establishing a minimum wage rather than a living wage, the lowest amount that can be paid to any worker in the country.

“This is a very difficult time for anyone to negotiate minimum wage. The government, labour, and organised private sector all operate in an environment where the macroeconomics are not right, and even the global economy is experiencing shakeups,” Kadri stated.

He emphasized that both labour and private businesses face significant economic challenges, complicating their ability to meet the wage demands of labour unions.

“From the start of the negotiations, it was clear to the tripartite—government, labour, and organised private sector—that we would operate in a difficult terrain. The organised private sector and government have offered N60,000 as the minimum wage. This is what some call the walk-in wage, the amount we will pay the least workers in the country,” Kadri said.

Kadri further noted that the government and private sector face significant constraints in fulfilling the proposed N419,000 living wage request. He highlighted that the private sector, grappling with economic challenges and inflation, finds it impossible to pay such an amount.

“This is not the most appropriate time for organised labour to negotiate a new minimum wage. Instead, they should collaborate with other stakeholders to strengthen the economy. We are all operating in a very difficult environment, with limited capacity to pay,” he added.

Kadri appealed to organised labour to reconsider its decision to embark on a nationwide strike, arguing that such action would not resolve the issues at hand.

“It is unfortunate that labour rejected the N60,000 offer and chose to declare a nationwide strike. We cannot afford to cripple the economy when we need to build it. President Tinubu was clear that these are not easy times, and we need to tighten our belts to deliver on an economy that has been seriously battered,” he said.

Kadri also called on the government to demonstrate leadership and sensitivity, stating that government expenditures and choices must be scrutinized.

“Labour feels the brunt of the current situation, but walking out on the process and declaring a strike will not solve the issue,” he concluded.

On Friday, organised labour declared a nationwide indefinite strike over the Federal Government’s refusal to raise the proposed minimum wage from N60,000. The strike follows the expiration of an earlier request to conclude all negotiations for a new minimum wage by the end of May.