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N567k difference stops govt, labour talks on minimum wage

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A N567,000 difference between what labour unions want the Federal Government to pay as minimum monthly wage for workers has deadlocked negotiations between both parties.

While the unions want N615,000 per month for workers, the government offered a dismal N48,000 which made representatives of the Nigeria Labour Congress and Trade Union Congress have walk away from the negotiation table on Wednesday.

The NLC President, Joe Ajaero, said that the government is not serious about negotiating adding that the FG does not have the necessary data to negotiate with Labour.

He gave government two weeks to get its act in order so that Labour can decide on its next line of action.

A joint statement signed by Ajaero and Tommy Okon (the Trade Union Congress Deputy President) after the meeting read in part, “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 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.

Recall that about a month ago, Labour unions asked for a minimum monthly wage of N615,000, but government maintained a studied silence until Wednesday.

In January, the Federal Government inaugurated a 37-man Tripartite Committee on National Minimum Wage with a mandate to recommend a new National Minimum Wage for the country.

New minimum wage to take effect from May 1

There was a huge expectation among the workers that a new minimum wage would be announced during the Workers Day commemoration on May 1, but that was not to be.

However, the government assured the workers that they will not lose anything, as the new minimum wage whenever it is agreed, will take effect from May 1, 2024.

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