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Thursday, June 13, 2024

Minimum Wage: Labour Rejects Small Increases to N60,000 Proposal

Minimum Wage: Labour Rejects Small Increases to N60,000 Proposal

The organized labour has declared its intent to reject any minor increase to the N60,000 minimum wage previously proposed by the federal government.

Labour leaders and the federal government reached an agreement on Monday to set a new minimum wage “above N60,000.”

However, Festus Osifo, president of the Trade Union Congress (TUC), said that labour is focused on a substantial and economically realistic amount.

Osifo specified that the new minimum wage should reflect the purchasing power of N30,000 in 2019 and N18,000 in 2014. Labour began an indefinite strike on Monday due to the government’s reluctance to exceed the N60,000 threshold. The strike was suspended for one week following an extraordinary meeting of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and TUC.

One-Week Strike Suspension

NLC President Joe Ajaero explained that the strike suspension allows the federal government to finalize a new acceptable minimum wage, reverse the electricity tariff hike to N66/kwh, and abolish the discriminatory classification of electricity consumers into bands. He directed all unions and state councils to resume work immediately, citing President Tinubu’s commitment to a minimum wage above N60,000.

Ajaero criticized the government’s inaction on reversing the electricity tariff hike and eliminating the consumer classification system, stressing these issues must be resolved alongside wage increases.

Government Action and Senate Response

President Bola Ahmed Tinubu has directed Finance Minister Wale Edun to determine the cost implications of the new minimum wage within two days. The federal government aims to finalize a new wage acceptable to all parties within a week, according to Minister of Information and National Orientation Mohammed Idris.

The Senate condemned the shutdown of the national power grid during the strike, labeling it economic sabotage. The Senate plans to pass legislation preventing such actions in the future, as outlined by Senator Diket Plang (APC, Plateau Central). Senate President Godswill Akpabio highlighted the negative impact of the power grid shutdown and other disruptions caused by the strike, insisting on legal measures to prevent recurrence.

Further Developments

The federal government and labour unions are expected to collaborate in the coming days to ensure a sustainable and realistic minimum wage adjustment. The administration has expressed its commitment to adopting the committee’s recommendations to improve the welfare of Nigerians.

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