Nigerian Labour Unions Reject Government’s N48,000 Minimum Wage Proposal, Demand N615,000

The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and Trade Union Congress (TUC) expressed profound disappointment on Wednesday as negotiations on the national minimum wage stalled at the Tripartite National Minimum Wage meeting. The unions accused the Federal Government of a lack of seriousness in negotiating a fair wage for Nigerian workers.

During a joint press conference in Abuja, NLC President Joe Ajaero criticized the government’s proposal of N48,000 as the minimum wage. “Government’s proposal of a paltry N48,000 does not only insult the sensibilities of Nigerian workers but also falls significantly short of meeting our needs and aspirations,” Ajaero stated.

The NLC and TUC noted that the Organised Private Sector (OPS) had proposed an initial offer of N54,000, while even the lowest-paid workers in the private sector receive N78,000. This disparity, according to Ajaero, highlights the unwillingness of both employers and the government to negotiate a fair national minimum wage.

Ajaero emphasized that the government failed to provide data to substantiate their offer, undermining the negotiation process and eroding trust. He noted that the current minimum wage, augmented by various allowances, totals N77,000, making the government’s proposal regressive.

“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,” Ajaero declared.

Due to these unresolved issues, the NLC and TUC decided to walk out of the negotiations. Ajaero reiterated the unions’ commitment to advocating for Nigerian workers’ rights and urged the government to reconsider its position. He called on the government to engage in meaningful dialogue to establish a realistic and fair minimum wage.

Ajaero further urged the government to work with Labour to finalize a proposed N615,000 minimum wage, reflecting the true value of workers’ contributions and current socioeconomic realities. “Together, in reasonable dialogue, we can work to give Nigerian workers an N615,000 National Minimum wage based on evidence and data,” he said.

Vice President Kashim Shettima, representing President Bola Tinubu, had earlier urged the committee members to reach a timely resolution on the new minimum wage. The 37-member panel, chaired by former Head of the Civil Service of the Federation Goni Aji, was tasked with recommending a realistic national minimum wage.

Public hearings across various zones yielded different proposals for a living wage, with figures ranging from N447,000 to N850,000, reflecting the high costs of living and economic challenges.


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