• Monday, July 22, 2024
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Minimum Wage: No agreement yet as FG raises offer to N54,000

N250,000 minimum wage: Were the labour unions daydreaming?

…negotiation continues Wednesday

There were indications that the Federal Government has upped its earlier proposal of N48,000 to N54,000 during the meeting of the Tripartite Committee on National Minimum Wage in Abuja on Tuesday.

However, Nkiruka Onyejeocha, minister of state for labour and employment, who spoke to BusinessDay after the meeting could not confirm the figure.

Read also: Strike imminent as Labour walks out on FG over N48,000 minimum wage proposal

It would be recalled that the organised labour comprising the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and the Trade Union Congress (TUC), staged a walkout from the tripartite committee on minimum wage meeting last week after the FG proposed N48,000, a far cry from the N615,000 that labour is asking for.

A source close to Tuesday’s meeting said the FG has offered to pay N54,000 up from N48,000. The meeting was said to have ended with all parties agreeing to reconvene on Wednesday.

“As you know, there is no way the government can pay the amount that labour is demanding. However, the government is trying to make sure that we give the workers a living wage,” Onyejeocha told BusinessDay.

The minister, however, confirmed that the meeting would continue on Wednesday.

Labour was yet to react to the Federal Government’s fresh proposal.

Ekpo Nta, chairman, National Salaries, Income and Wages Commission (NSIWC), also declined comments on the ongoing minimum wage discussions, when approached by BusinessDay.

“We have urged everyone to desist from issuing statements on the discussions. So, all this information flying around is not from the committee. We will talk to you (Press) after the minimum wage issues are resolved”

The organised labour did not also give any reaction to the latest proposal by the Federal Government.

But a source close to the NLC, however, assured that the labour would continue to push for their demands.

“There is no need for any official reactions for now, until that tomorrow’s (Wednesday) meeting. We will continue with the deliberations. So, let’s wait for the outcome”

Both the NLC and TUC had last week, walked out of the tripartite meeting following the government’s N48,000 proposal which they regard as an “insult”.

They believed that the amount did not go far enough to address current economic difficulties faced by Nigerians as a result of the Federal Government’s economic policies, especially the fuel subsidy removal that led to a high cost of living across the country.

Last year, they forced President Bola Tinubu to introduce the N35,000 wage increase across the board for federal workers, effective from September which was to last for six months, following threats to embark on a strike.

The tripartite committee has also received and is considering the reports on the survey of the informal sector of the economy, 2023, as well as those of the National Salaries, Income and Wages Commission.

A joint statement last week signed by Joe Ajaero NLC president, and Tommy Okon, deputy president, TUC, noted that “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.”