NLC To Embark On Warning Strike On Tuesday

Minimum Wage: We Didn’t Have Agreement, NLC Tells Tinubu

Says labour didn't agree on a 5-year duration Minimum Wage Act
1 month ago
4 mins read

The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) has reacted to President Bola Tinubu’s comment on minimum wage, saying they didn’t have a concrete agreement with representatives of the Federal Government in the Tripartite Committee during negotiations.

President Tinubu had during his Democracy Day address on Wednesday, said during the labour nationwide strike and protest over minimum wage, there was no crackdown or arrest of workers by the government and that he would soon send an Executive Bill to the National Assembly to enact a Minimum Wage Act for the next five years based on what has been agreed upon with organised labour.

However, reacting to the President’s comment, NLC in a statement signed by its acting president, Prince Adewale Adeyanju, said there was no final agreement on a specific amount for national minimum wage. The union equally said they did not also agree on having a five-year duration Minimum Wage Act.

The labour union said it appears the president was misinformed by his officers about the outcome of the negotiations.

READ ALSO: Minimum Wage: Labour To Reject N100,000 Proposal By Nigerian Govt As Negotiations Continues On Tuesday 

The statement said: “The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) attentively listened to the Democracy Day Presidential address delivered by His Excellency, Senator Bola Ahmed Tinubu, especially concerning the ongoing National Minimum Wage negotiations. “While the President may have accurately recounted parts of our democratic journey’s history, it is evident that he has been misinformed regarding the outcome of the wage negotiation process.”

Prime Business Africa recalls that as of the last meeting of the Tripartite Committee on National Minimum Wage, the Federal Government insisted on ₦62,000 while organised labour demanded ₦250,000 as minimum wage.

The NLC said it appreciates the president’s commitment to democratic ideals, which allowed the work of the Tripartite National Minimum Wage Negotiation Committee to proceed unhindered despite some hiccups.

The labour union, however, said they had expected Mr. President to have used this understanding as one of those who was in the vanguard of the struggle to rescue Nigeria from military dictatorship, to harmonise the two figures (₦62,000 by the government and ₦250,000 by labour) submitted to him by the Tripartite Committee, in favour of workers and masses, adding that “It would have been a fitting Democracy Day gift.”

The NLC said organised labour still maintains its demand of ₦250,000 and has not been given compelling reasons to change position.

“The NLC would have expected that the advisers of the President would have told him that we neither reached any agreement with the Federal Government and the employers on the base figure for a National Minimum Wage nor on its other components.

“Our demand still remains N250,000 (two hundred and fifty thousand naira) only and we have not been given any compelling reasons to change this position which we consider a great concession by Nigerian workers during the tripartite negotiation process.

“We are therefore surprised at the submission of Mr. President over a supposed agreement.

“We believe that he may have been misled into believing that there was an agreement with the NLC and TUC. There was none and it is important that we let the President, Nigerians and other national stakeholders understand this immediately to avoid a mix up in the ongoing conversation around the national minimum wage.”

The union said they have not seen any copy of the document submitted to President Tinubu and “will not accept any doctored document.”

It said it believes that the President on whose table the report of the Tripartite Committee lies, would look at it and send to the National Assembly, an Executive Bill that will reflect the true demand of Nigerian workers.

“We think that this is an opportunity for him to demonstrate his love for Nigerian workers and masses by shunning the pieces of advise that may be coming from those whose intentions are continuously focused on hurting the poor and struggling workers of Nigeria. Mr. President should not allow these individuals and groups to sabotage his promise of lifting Nigerian workers out of poverty.

“President’s advisers obviously did not tell him the truth that the leaders of the trade unions were intimidated and harassed. It is therefore important that Mr. President understands that we were threatened severally by his operatives perhaps without his consent. Series of media Propaganda calculated to intimidate and harass us were, and, are still being waged against the trade unions by senior officials of this government. Fully armed soldiers surrounded us while we were in a negotiation with the Government and despite denials, recent statements by senior officials of the Government reaffirmed our fears contrary to the assurances by the Government. “However, we remain assured that the President’s democratic credentials will comne to the fore in favour of Nigerian workers and masses.

“It is also important that Mr. President should know that most of his officers are working round the clock to set up the leadership of congress and the trade unions. We never agreed on a five-year duration of the minimum wage Act though we acknowledge that the President mentioned five years or less. We also agreed that inflation should be pegged at a level for certain amount to be agreed as minimum wage. This is to bring clarity to what the report should contain,” it stated.

The union reiterated that it will be difficult for Nigerian workers to accept any national minimum wage figure that “approximates to a starvation Wage.”

“We cannot be working and yet remain in abject poverty. We seek justice, equity and fairness for all Nigerians and this we hope would also drive the actions of Mr. President who promised a Living Wage to Nigerian workers. This is an opportunity to show that he listens to Nigerians as he promised!

“Together, we can build a stronger democratic nation based on equity which guarantees prosperity to the majority of the citizenry and not one where few individuals monopolise our collective resources. That is the only way to build a sustainable democracy. It is the true democracy that we all yearn for as a people!”



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