Minimum Wage: Labour Wants Reasonable Increase On N60,000 – Osifo


BY EDMOND ODOK – The Labour Movement says only substantial addition to the N60,000 proposed by the Federal Government as new minimum wage will be acceptable to Nigerian workers.

Vowing to reject any ‘little increase’ on the touted amount, President of the Trade Union Congress (TUC), Comrade Festus Osifo however said the Organised Labour was not fixated on N494,000, but on something substantial to enable workers weather the storm of current economic hardship in the country.

Speaking last night on Channels Television’s programme, Politics Today, Comrade Osifo said the tripartite Committee must show seriousness and offer workers something economically realistic in tandem with current inflationary pressures.

On what exactly Labour is considering, he said; “We told them that it is not that we would get to the table and you start adding N1, N2, N3,000 as you were doing and we got some good guarantees here and there that they would do something good”.

The TUC President said Labour believes that the new minimum wage must be equal in purchasing power to the value of N30,000 in 2019 as well as N18,000 in 2014.

After embarking on an indefinite strike on Monday over the government’s refusal to pay more than N60,000 as new minimum wage, Organised Labour “relaxed” their action on Tuesday, June 4, 2024 for one week following the extraordinary National Executive Council (NEC) meeting of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and TUC.

Strike: NLC President, Ajaero Speaks On One Week Respite

The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) President, Comrade Joe Ajaero, who read the NEC meeting communique to journalists Tuesday, said the strike was relaxed for one week from today, (Tuesday) to allow the Federal Government commit to a concrete and acceptable national minimum wage.

He also said the reprieve was also aimed at ensuring the appropriate authorities take definitive steps to reverse the electricity tariff hike back to N66/kwh and abolish the discriminatory classification of electricity consumers into bands.

Ajaero said labour leadership was mandated to maintain open channels of communication with the government to negotiate and secure favourable outcomes for Nigerian workers and people.

He said the NEC has directed all affiliate Unions and State councils “to relax the indefinite nationwide strike and return to their respective workplaces immediately.”

Ajaero explained that relaxing the strike followed the President’s commitment to raise the new minimum wage above N60,000.

Offering insight on agreement reached with the government, Comrade Ajaero said; “On electricity tariff hike and classification: The NEC-in-Session is deeply disappointed by government’s silence and lack of concrete action regarding the reversal of the electricity tariff hike and the abolition of the apartheid classification of electricity consumers into bands.

“The NEC reaffirms that these issues are critical to alleviating the financial burden on Nigerian workers and the general populace. The electricity tariff hike and discriminatory band classification remain unacceptable and must be addressed alongside the wage increase.”

On Monday, June 4, 2024, Organised Labour and the Federal Government’s team reached an agreement on a new minimum wage that would be “above N60,000.”

Meanwhile, against the backdrop of President Bola Tinubu’s directive that the Minister of Finance, Wale Edun, produce the cost implication of a new minimum wage within two days, Minister of Information and National Orientation, Mohammed Idris, said parties to the negotiations would work with the Organised Labour to present a new wage for Nigerians in one week.

Addressing reporters after meeting with the President, Idris said; “All of us will work together assiduously within the next one week to ensure that we have a new wage for Nigeria that is acceptable, sustainable and realistic”.

Idris said the President directed those who had negotiated on behalf of the government, as well as representatives of the Organised Private Sector and state governments to come together to have a new wage award that is affordable, sustainable and realistic for Nigerians.

According to the Minister; “We were all there to look at all the issues; and the president has directed the minister of finance to do the numbers and get back to him between today (yesterday) and tomorrow (today) so that we can have figures ready for negotiation with labour”.

Expressing the administration’s resolve to accept the Committee’s resolutions with Labour, the Minister said; “Let me say that the president is determined to go with what the Committee has said. He is also looking at the welfare of Nigerians”.

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