• Saturday, June 15, 2024
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Labour rejects FG’s N60,000 minimum wage offer

Labour rejects FG’s N60,000 minimum wage offer

The Nigeria Labour Congress NLC and the Trade Union Congress TUC, have again rejected the N60000 fresh offer put forward by the federal government.

The development led to another walkout by organised labour from the meeting of the 37-member tripartite committee on the new Minimum Wage.

Tuesday’s walkout, the second in two weeks, signals more crises for the new minimum wage negotiations as Labour had earlier given the federal government, up to the end of May 2024 to come up with an acceptable wage.

Recall that the government had last week raised its offer from N54,000 to N57,000, which was also rejected by the organised labour.

BusinessDay gathered however that labour on Tuesday shifted from the N497,000 request to N495,000 as the new minimum wage.

Labour also urged the government to be more responsive to the demands of the Nigerian workers, adding that government proposals do not reflect the current economic realities.

Read also: South-West pensioners call for abolition of 5-yearly review of minimum wage

A top official of the NLC who spoke to BusinessDay on Tuesday said the “federal government has not demonstrated enough commitment to resolving the Minimum Wage issue”

Labour also said the government must ensure industrial harmony.

Recall that the 37-member Tripartite Committee was inaugurated on the 30th of January, 2024 and was expected to have submitted its reports before the end of April, 2024.

This followed the expiration of the N30,000 minimum wage signed into law in April 2019 by former President Muhammadu Buhari

But despite the commitment made by Nkiruka Onyejeocha, Minister of State for Labour and Employment, that the minimum wage will take effect from the 1st of May, 2024, the Organised Labour is insisting that everything must be concluded by 31st of May, 2024, just a few days away.

Labour thinks that the Minister’s promise which she made on the Workers Day, does not weight law.

” If you recall, Mohammed Idris, the Minister of Information has boasted that the new Minimum Wage law will come into effect in April, today, where are we?

“ How can the government that says it has the interest of Nigeria’s workers at heart be offering N60,000 as the new Minimum Wage, under the current economic conditions

“ Unlike other countries, working in Nigeria is making people poorer.

How can workers who pay N2,000 daily, or N40,000 monthly for transportation and assuming he spends just N2000 daily on food, amounting to N60,000 monthly? without a family, accepts to take N60,000 as minimum wage.

Already, food and transport have claimed N100,000, without adding, electricity, water, telephone, and Medicals.

“ The above calculation is for a man staying alone. What if he has a family, with children to cater for”.

“Government must demonstrate good faith, we on our own, we are ready to meet them at the right point, but they must demonstrate responsibilities to Nigerian workers.

Read also: Minimum wage negotiation: Need for transparency, realism and flexibility

On the May 31st deadline, the Labour official who refused to have his name in print said Labour has not changed its plan.

“ If the government fails to ensure that we reach agreement on the new minimum wage by the 31st of May, we will meet and unveil our next line of action” he said

The NLC said the federal government has failed to build the cost of living COLA, into the proposed minimum wage submitted by it, as it applies to other countries including Nigeria’s neighbour, Ghana.

BusinessDay however gathered that both the federal government and the organised private sector ops are on the same page on the Minimum wage issue.
Recall that the ops had earlier presented N57,000 which the government also adopted.

Sources close to the tripartite committee meeting told BusinessDay that the government is also appealing to labour to reduce their demands to allow for a minimum wage that is affordable to all stakeholders

“ The government is saying that about 58 million Nigerians are currently being engaged by the private sector.
“ They are expressing concerns that many Nigerians may lose their jobs if the Minimum wage is higher than what the OPS can afford”