Minimum Wage: Organised Labour knocks FG, walks out of negotiation talks

The organised Labour on Wednesday walked out of the ongoing minimum wage negotiations with the government and the organised private sector.

Joe Ajaero, President of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and Tommy Okon Deputy President of the Trade Union Congress (TUC) led the delegations that staged a walk out, describing the N48,000 of the government as ridiculous.

In a statement jointly signed by Messrs Ajaero and Okon, they said the amount the federal government is proposing “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 and prevailing standards further demonstrating the minimum wage 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 (seventyseven 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 January, the organised Labour proposed N1 million as the new minimum wage but later reviewed and demanded N615,000 in April to cope with the current economic realities and high cost of living in the country.

The unions said the current N30,000 minimum wage, which some state government are not paying, can no longer cater for the well being of an average Nigerian worker.

The minimum wage act, reviewed every five years to meet up with contemporary economic demands of workers and lastly signed into law by President Muhammadu Buhari in 2019 expired in April.