May 28, 2024

 

The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and Trade Union Congress (TUC) have withdrawn from ongoing minimum wage negotiations after the Federal Government proposed a wage increase to N48,000, significantly below the unions’ demand of N615,000.

Expressing frustration with the offer, the labour leaders criticized it as insulting to Nigerian workers’ sensibilities and falling far short of meeting their needs. The breakdown in negotiations marks the second instance of deadlock in as many weeks, with the previous session ending inconclusively on April 29 due to disagreement over the proposed wage.

NLC President Joe Ajaero defended the unions’ demand for N615,000, citing the high cost of living and essential expenses for an average Nigerian family. He outlined a breakdown of the proposed wage, encompassing housing, utilities, food, healthcare, education, and transportation costs.

In response to the government’s offer, which was perceived as inadequate, Ajaero blamed both the government and the Organised Private Sector (OPS) for the impasse, accusing them of undermining the negotiation process. He highlighted the disparity between the proposed minimum wage and prevailing standards, emphasizing the need for a fair and equitable resolution.

Ajaero criticized the government for its failure to provide substantiated data to support its offer, questioning the transparency and good faith of the negotiation process. He warned against accepting a wage proposal that would effectively reduce income for federal-level workers already earning N30,000 as mandated by law.

With negotiations at a standstill, Ajaero affirmed the unions’ commitment to advocating for workers’ rights and interests. He called on the government to demonstrate genuine commitment to finding a fair and sustainable resolution to the impasse and urged a return to the negotiation table with a revised offer reflecting the true value of workers’ contributions.

The walkout by Organised Labour underscores the urgency of addressing workers’ concerns and ensuring a living wage that aligns with the socio-economic realities facing Nigerian workers today

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