Labor Rejects FG’s N48,000 Minimum Wage Offer, Stages Walk-Out

The Organized Labor stormed out in frustration as the negotiations between their leaders and the Federal Government over the new minimum wage ended in a deadlock on Wednesday, Africa Today News, New York reports. 

This followed offers of ₦48,000 and ₦54,000 wages by the Federal Government and the Organized Private Sector (OPS), respectively.

In a statement released after the incident, Labor expressed disappointment over the impasse reached during the Tripartite National Minimum Wage negotiations, attributing it to the government’s perceived lack of seriousness to engage in meaningful discussions with the Nigerian workers.

The statement signed by the President of the Nigeria Labor Congress (NLC), Joe Ajaero, and the Deputy President of the Trade Union Congress (TUC), Tommy Etim Okon, noted that despite their sincere efforts to come to a fair agreement, the actions of the government and the OPS were deemed inadequate, ultimately causing breakdown in negotiations.

The Labour Centres said the government’s proposal of N48,000 did not only insult the sensibilities of Nigerian workers but also fell significantly short of meeting its needs and aspirations.

In contrast, the OPS proposed an initial offer of N54,000, though it is worth noting that even the least paid workers in the private sector receives N78,000 as clearly stated by the OPS, highlighting the stark disparity between the proposed minimum wage and prevailing standards further demonstrates the unwillingness of employers and the government to faithfully negotiate a fair national minimum wage for workers in Nigeria.

Read Also: Labor Insists On May 31 Deadline As Minimum Wage Talks Resume

“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 as mandated by law, augmented by Buhari’s 40 percent peculiar allowance (N12,000) and the N35,000 wage award, totalling N77,000 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.

“In light of these developments, and in order to prevent the negotiation of a wage deduction, the NLC  and the 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 finding a fair and sustainable solution to this impasse.

“We call upon the government to reconsider its position and come to the negotiation table with clear hands that reflects the true value of the contributions made by the Nigerian workers to the nation’s development and the objective socioeconomic realities that confront not just Nigerian workers, but Nigerians today as a result of the policies of the Federal Government.

“Together, in a reasonable dialogue, we can work to give Nigerian workers a N615,000 national minimum wage as proposed by us on the basis of evidence and data. This will be in keeping with the pledge of the President;  Bola Tinubu’s pledge to ensure a living wage for Nigerian workers,” the statement read.

Meanwhile, the Chairman of the Tripartite Committee on National Minimum Wage, Alhaji Goni Aji, has urged members to be rational amid competing demands.

Speaking at the opening of the fourth plenary meeting, he said the committee has reached the crucial stage of its assignment. He urged them to approach the conclusive part of the assignment with some sense of honesty, patriotism, respect, and accommodation in the national interest. The chairman expressed optimism that the spirit of give and take earlier canvassed by President Tinubu would overpower the Committee for the sake of our people and country.

Africa Today News, New York

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