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Minimum Wage: FG’s ‘Paltry N48,000’ Offer Undermines Wellbeing Of Nigerian Workers – Organised Labour

2 days ago
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Organised labour has rejected the ₦48,000 proposed by the Nigerian government as national minimum wage, insisting that it is a “paltry sum that not only not only insult the sensibilities of Nigerian workers but also falls significantly short of their needs and aspirations.

The Tripartite National Minimum Wage Committee resumed negotiations on Wednesday following agitations for an increase of the national minimum wage for workers due to high cost of living in the country.

The organised labour had earlier proposed ₦615,000 which generated mixed reactions with some saying it was too high considering the status of the economy while others said it was appropriate.

However, in a joint statement released on Wednesday signed by president of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Joe Ajaero and Deputy President, Trade Union Congress (TUC), Tommy Etim Okon, the labour unions said the negotiations ended in stalemate, because of “apparent unseriousness of the Government to engage in reasonable negotiation with Nigerian workers.”

READ ALSO: Why Increasing Minimum Wage To At Least N100,000 Is Important – Analysts

The NLC and TUC said that while the Federal Government proposed ₦48,000, Organised Private Sector (OPS), proposed ₦54,000.

“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 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 minimum wage and prevailing standards further demonstrating the unwillingness of Employers and Government to faithfully negotiate a fair National Minimum Wage for Workers in Nigeria.”

The labour unions said they could not in good conscience accept the government’s offer which according to them, would result in wage reduction because currently a federal worker receives not less than ₦77,000 when N35,000 wage award granted by the Tinubu’s government last year, is added to the already existing ₦30,000 minimum wage and about 40 per cent Peculiar allowance (which is about ₦12,000) approved by the Buhari administration.

They averred that accepting such offer would amount to taking a “regressive step” that “would undermine the economic well-being of workers and their families and is unacceptable in a National Minimum Wage Fixing process.”

The labour unions also said the government failed to provide any substantiated data to support their offer, making it lack transparency and good faith that “undermines the credibility of the negotiation process and erodes trust between the parties involved.”

“In light of these developments, and in order to prevent the negotiation of a wage deduction, the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and Trade Union Congress (TUC) have taken the decision to walk out of the negotiation process. We remain committed to advocating for the rights and interests of Nigerian workers and will continue to engage in reasonable dialogue with the Government if they show serious commitment to find a fair and sustainable resolution to this impasse.”

While maintaining their stand on the proposed N615,000 monthly national minimum wage, NLC and TUC called on the government to come to the negotiation table with a sincere disposition that reflects their regard for the contributions made by Nigerian workers to the nation’s development and the desire to address “the socioeconomic realities that confront not just Nigerian workers but Nigerians today as a result of the policies of the federal government.”

 

Victor Ezeja is a passionate journalist with six years of experience writing on economy, politics and energy. He holds a Masters degree in Mass Communication.

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