Labour Unions Walk Out of Minimum Wage Negotiations

In a dramatic turn of events, the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and Trade Union Congress (TUC) have walked out of ongoing negotiations over the national minimum wage with the Federal Government and the Organised Private Sector (OPS).

Angered by the Federal Government’s proposal of N48,000 as the new national minimum wage, the labour unions labeled the offer as “ridiculous” and far below acceptable standards. NLC President Joe Ajaero criticized the government for not taking the negotiations seriously.

“The Government’s proposal of a paltry N48,000 as the Minimum Wage not only insults the sensibilities of Nigerian workers but also falls significantly short of meeting our needs and aspirations,” Ajaero stated. “In contrast, the Organised Private Sector (OPS) proposed an initial offer of N54,000, though it is worth noting that even the least paid workers in the private sector receive N78,000 per month, as clearly stated by the OPS. This highlights the stark disparity between the proposed and prevailing standards and further demonstrates the unwillingness of Employers and Government to faithfully negotiate a fair National Minimum Wage for Workers in Nigeria.”

Ajaero further condemned the government for failing to provide substantiated data to support their offer, arguing that this lack of transparency undermines the credibility of the negotiation process and erodes trust between the involved parties.

“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 as mandated by law, augmented by Buhari’s 40% Peculiar allowance (N12,000) and the N35,000 wage award, totaling N77,000,” the unions stated after the meeting. “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.”

The unions have given the government until the end of the month to arrive at a satisfactory decision, with Ajaero indicating that Labour will take decisive action if their ultimatum is not met.

The Trade Union Congress, represented at the meeting by Deputy President Tommy Okon, remains firm in its stance.

On May 1, the NLC and TUC had proposed a N615,000 minimum wage, citing the high cost of living as the basis for their demand.

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