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Labour Insists on May 31 Deadline for Minimum Wage Negotiations, Threatens Protests

Labour Insists on May 31 Deadline for Minimum Wage Negotiations, Threatens Protests

The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and the Trade Union Congress (TUC) have reiterated their May 31, 2024 deadline for the Federal Government to meet their demands, which include implementing a new national minimum wage and reversing the electricity tariff hike. This decision followed an emergency meeting on Monday by the National Executive Councils (NEC) of both unions.

Key Issues and Demands:

  • New National Minimum Wage: The unions are demanding a significant increase from the current minimum wage of ₦30,000 to ₦615,000, citing economic hardships and the high cost of living. They argue that the existing wage no longer supports the average Nigerian worker.
  • Non-Compliance with 2019 Minimum Wage Act: Some state governments have not complied with the Act, which mandates a periodic review of the minimum wage every five years.
  • Electricity Tariff Hike Reversal: Labour leaders are also calling for the reversal of the recent increase in electricity tariffs.

Stance on Current Negotiations:

  • The NLC and TUC walked out of the last negotiation session after the Federal Government proposed a new minimum wage of ₦48,000, which the unions rejected as insufficient. The Organised Private Sector (OPS) had suggested ₦54,000.
  • The unions have directed their members in Anambra State to prepare for industrial action if the state government fails to meet their demands by May 23, 2024.

Labour’s Ultimatum and Preparedness:

  • In a joint resolution signed by NLC President Joe Ajaero and TUC leader Festus Osifo, the unions emphasized the urgency of reaching an agreement that fairly compensates workers and reflects their contributions to national development.
  • The NEC warned that failure to meet the May 31 deadline would lead to nationwide protests and industrial actions.
  • All state councils where the minimum wage is not fully implemented were directed to issue a two-week ultimatum to their state governments.

Government’s Response:

  • The Chairman of the Tripartite Committee on National Minimum Wage, Alhaji Bukar Goni, has invited labour leaders to resume negotiations, hinting at possible concessions from the government.

The labour unions remain firm in their demands, stressing that the welfare of Nigerian workers is non-negotiable and urging the government to act swiftly to prevent industrial unrest.

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