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Labour Reject New Minimum Wage, May Resume Strike Tuesday 

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Labour Reject New Minimum Wage, May Resume Strike Tuesday 

ABUJA, (iexclusivenews) – the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) and the Trade Union Congress (TUC) have firmly rejected the federal government’s proposal of a ₦100,000 minimum wage for Nigerian workers.

The NLC President, Joe Ajaero, and other labour leaders have made it clear that they will not accept any wage below ₦250,000, which they consider a living wage for the average Nigerian worker.

Government’s Offer Deemed “Starvation Wage”

In an interview on Channels Television, Chris Onyeka, the Assistant General Secretary of the NLC, described the government’s offer of ₦62,000 as a “starvation wage.”

Onyeka emphasized that the labour unions would not negotiate any wage that fails to meet the basic needs of Nigerian workers.

He stated, “Our position is very clear.We have never considered accepting ₦62,000 or any other wage that we know is below what we know can take Nigerian workers home. We will not negotiate a starvation wage.”

READ MORE: FG Proposes N62,000 Minimum Wage Amid Labour Negotiations

One-Week Ultimatum to Federal Government

The labour unions have given the federal government a one-week grace period to review its proposal, which expires at midnight on June 11, 2024.

Onyeka warned that if the government and the National Assembly fail to act on workers’ demands by the deadline, the organised labour would resume its nationwide industrial action.

Labour’s Demand for ₦250,000 Minimum Wage

Onyeka reiterated that the labour unions’ demand for a ₦250,000 minimum wage is based on the realities of the marketplace and the cost of living in Nigeria.

He said, “We are still at ₦250,000, that is where we are, and that is what we considered enough concession to the government and the other social partners in this particular situation. We are not just driven by frivolities but the realities of the marketplace, realities of things we buy every day: a bag of rice, yam, garri, and all of that.”

Failed Negotiations and Potential Strike Action

After weeks of failed negotiations, the labour unions embarked on a nationwide strike last Monday to demand a new minimum wage and the reversal of the electricity tariff hike.

The current minimum wage of ₦30,000 is deemed insufficient to cater to the well-being of the average Nigerian worker.

The labour leadership suspended the strike for five days after signing a commitment with the federal government to resume negotiations and come up with a new minimum wage within a week.

Government’s Response and Next Steps

The President directed the Minister of Finance, Wale Edun, to present the cost implications for a new minimum wage within two days.

On Thursday, the finance minister presented the cost implications to the President at the Presidential Villa.

However, the government described the labour unions’ proposal as “unaffordable,” and the 36 state governors deemed the demand unsustainable.

On Friday, June 7, 2024, labour and the government failed to reach an agreement. While labour reduced its demand from ₦494,000 to ₦250,000, the government offered ₦62,000.

Both sides submitted their reports to the President, who is expected to make a decision and send an executive bill to the National Assembly to pass a new minimum wage bill.

 

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