Nigerian Organised Labour Walks Out of Minimum Wage Negotiations Over Government’s ‘Ridiculous’ N48,000 Offer


Tensions between the Nigerian government and organized labor unions have reached a boiling point, as the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and Trade Union Congress (TUC) walked out of negotiations over the national minimum wage.

The Tripartite Committee on New National Minimum Wage reconvened on Wednesday to continue negotiations, but discussions reached an impasse as labour leaders expressed disappointment with the government’s perceived lack of seriousness in engaging with workers’ demands.

However, reports revealed that the organised labour unions, including the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and Trade Union Congress (TUC), walked out of negotiations with the Nigerian government over the national minimum wage. This decision came after the government offered to increase the minimum wage to N48,000 without providing any data to support this offer.

The organized labour unions had demanded N615,000 as the new minimum wage, emphasizing the need to address the high cost of living and inflation in Nigeria.

The organized labour unions have given the Nigerian government a deadline of May 31 to conclude discussions and present a “realistic and reasonable” new living wage for workers.

But in a statement jointly signed by the NLC President, Comrade Joe Ajaero and TUC Deputy President, Comrade Tommy Etim Okon on Wednesday, the organised labour said, “Despite earnest efforts to reach an equitable agreement, the less than reasonable action of the Government and the Organised Private Sector (OPS) has led to a breakdown in negotiations.

“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 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.

“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. 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.

“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 Nigerian workers to the nation’s development and the objective socioeconomic realities that confronts 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 (Six hundred and Fifteen thousand Naira) 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; his Excellency Senator Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s pledge to ensure a Living wage for Nigerian workers.”

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