Labour Unions Walk Out of Minimum Wage Negotiations Over “Ridiculous” Offer

Labour unions, including the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and Trade Union Congress (TUC), walked out of ongoing minimum wage negotiations with the government and the Organised Private Sector (OPS).
The unions were angered by the Federal Government’s proposal of N48,000 as the national minimum wage, deeming it inadequate.
NLC President Joe Ajaero criticized the government’s approach, stating, “The government is not serious about negotiating with Labour on the new minimum wage.”
He added that the government lacked the necessary data for proper negotiations. Ajaero emphasized that the government has until the end of the month to make a decision, after which Labour will decide on further actions.
The TUC was represented by Deputy President Tommy Okon.
A joint statement from Ajaero and Okon read, “The Government’s proposal of a paltry N48,000 (forty-eight thousand Naira) as the Minimum Wage does not only insult the sensibilities of Nigerian workers but also falls significantly short of meeting our needs and aspirations.”
“In contrast the Organised Private Sector (OPS) proposed an initial offer of N54 ,000 (fifty-four thousand Naira) though it is worth noting that even the least paid workers in the private sector receives N78,000 (seventy-eight thousand Naira per month) as clearly stated by the OPS, highlighting the stark disparity between the proposed and prevailing standards further demonstrating the minimum wage unwillingness of Employers and Government to faithfully negotiate a fair National Minimum Wage for Workers in Nigeria.
“Furthermore, the Government’s failure to provide any substantiated data to support their offer exacerbates the situation. This lack of transparency and good faith undermines the credibility of the negotiation process and erodes trust between the parties involved.
“As representatives of Nigerian workers, we cannot in good conscience accept a wage proposal that would result in a reduction in income for federal-level workers who are already receiving N30,000 (thirty thousand Naira) as mandated by law, augmented by Buhari’s 40% Peculiar allowance (N12,000) and the N35,000 (thirty-five thousand Naira) wage award, totaling N77,000 (seventy seven thousand Naira) only.
“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.
The NLC and TUC have proposed a new minimum wage of N615,000, citing the high cost of living as justification.
On April 14, the organised Labour demanded this amount, asserting that the current N30,000 minimum wage is insufficient for the average Nigerian worker.
The new wage of N615,000 monthly was reached after consultations between the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and the Trade Union Congress (TUC), according to the NLC President, Joe Ajaero.
The labour unions lamented that not all governors are paying the current wage award which will expire by April, five years after the Minimum Wage Act of 2019 was signed by former President Muhammadu Buhari. The Act is to be reviewed every five years to meet up with contemporary economic demands of workers.
NLC and the TUC have at various times called on the administration of President Bola Tinubu to hasten the upward review of wage awards.
In January, the Federal Government inaugurated a 37-man Tripartite Committee on National Minimum Wage, tasked with recommending a new minimum wage for the country.
Workers had hoped for an announcement on May 1, Workers’ Day, but were disappointed.
However, Minister of State Labour Nkeiruka Onyejeocha assured that the new minimum wage, once agreed upon, would be retroactive to May 1, 2024. She acknowledged the delay, emphasizing the need for wide consultation to finalize the document.
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