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FG laments as NLC, TUC demand N497,000 minimum wage

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Bola Tinubu

The tripartite committee on the new minimum wage, comprising the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Trade Union Congress (TUC), the organised private sector, and the federal government, has adjourned until next Tuesday, May 28, to resume deliberations after Wednesday’s meeting in Abuja ended in an impasse. 

The Federal Government, the organised private sector, NLC, and TUC were unable to achieve an agreement on the new minimum wage during the Wednesday meeting.

According to sources at the meeting, the administration originally stayed firm on the N54,000 proposal made on Tuesday, claiming a lack of cash.

However, the government was forced to submit the sum of N57,000 after the committee took a 30-minute break to discuss further.

According to sources, at the end of the break, both the government and the OPS suggested a minimum wage of N57,000. However, labour rejected the sum.

“The final proposal from labour was N497,000, and that was after the government and the private sector proposed N57,000.

“Initially, the government refused to shift grounds on the N54,000 it proposed earlier, noting that it didn’t have enough funds to pay. However, we took a 30-minute break to make further deliberations.

“We, as Labour, reject the proposed N57,000, and the meeting has been adjourned till Tuesday next week.

“Governors Obaseki and Uzodinma were present, while Governor Soludo joined us via Zoom. The government needs to be serious as regards these negotiations.”

Also speaking to reporters, a senior official of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) said, “The outcome of the negotiation of the National Minimum Wage Committee with the Federal Government is not encouraging.

“The Federal Government increased it from N54,000 to N57,000, and the organised labour moved from N615,000 to N500,000 and then to N497,000, and the meeting has been adjourned to next week Tuesday.”

He added that NLC and TUC normally meet before the negotiation meetings commence “to ask ourselves the direction to go.”

Tinubu, through Vice President Kashim Shettima, established the 37-member Tripartite Committee on Minimum Salary on January 30, 2024, in order to develop a new minimum salary before the present N30,000 wage expires on April 18.

The council, which includes representatives from federal and state governments, the commercial sector, and organised labour, will recommend a new national minimum wage for the country.

During the panel’s inauguration, Shettima asked members to “speedily” reach a settlement and submit their reports on time.

“This timely submission is crucial to ensuring the emergence of a new minimum wage,” Shettima said.

In fulfilment of its mandate, a zonal public hearing was held simultaneously on March 7 in Lagos, Kano, Enugu, Akwa Ibom, Adamawa, and Abuja.

The NLC and TUC in several states proposed varying values for a living wage, citing the current economic downturn and high living expenditures.

In their various suggestions for the minimum wage, NLC members in the South-West states wanted N794,000, while the TUC proposed N447,000.

At the North-Central zone hearing in Abuja, workers wanted N709,000 as the new national minimum wage, while their South-South counterparts demanded N850,000.

The North-West offered N485,000, while South-East stakeholders demanded N540,000 as the minimum wage.

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