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Labour Unions Walk Out of Minimum Wage Negotiations, Criticise FG

The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and the Trade Union Congress (TUC) have withdrawn from the ongoing minimum wage negotiations with the Federal Government and the Organized Private Sector (OPS).

Expressing their displeasure at the Federal Government’s proposal of N48,000 as the new national minimum wage, the labour unions described the offer as insulting and inadequate.

NLC President Joe Ajaero criticized the government for not taking the negotiations seriously and for lacking the necessary data to engage in meaningful discussions. He emphasized that the government has until the end of the month to make a decision, after which the labour unions will decide on their next steps.

The TUC was represented at the meeting by its Deputy President, Mr. Tommy Okon. In a joint statement signed by Ajaero and Okon, the unions stated, “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.”

They noted that the OPS had proposed an initial offer of N54,000, but even the lowest-paid workers in the private sector receive N78,000 per month, highlighting the disparity between the proposed and prevailing standards.

“The Government’s failure to provide substantiated data to support their offer exacerbates the situation,” the statement continued. “This lack of transparency undermines the credibility of the negotiation process and erodes trust between the parties involved.”

The unions pointed out that federal-level workers currently receive a total of N77,000, combining the mandated N30,000 minimum wage with a 40% Peculiar allowance (N12,000) and a N35,000 wage award. Accepting the proposed N48,000 minimum wage would result in a significant pay cut, which they deemed unacceptable.

The NLC and TUC had proposed a new minimum wage of N615,000, citing the high cost of living as the basis for their demand. They argued that the current minimum wage of N30,000 is insufficient to support the average Nigerian worker and noted that some governors are not even paying this amount, despite it being due for review under the Minimum Wage Act of 2019.

The labour unions have repeatedly urged President Bola Tinubu’s administration to expedite the upward review of wage awards. In January, the Federal Government inaugurated a 37-member Tripartite Committee on National Minimum Wage to recommend a new minimum wage for the country.

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