Labor Demands N497,000 Minimum Wage, Federal Government Cites Budget Constraints

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Minimum Wage

The tripartite committee on the new minimum wage has postponed its deliberations until next Tuesday, May 28th, following yet another deadlock in Wednesday’s meeting in Abuja.

The meeting, which brought together the Federal Government, the organized private sector, and organized labour, failed to reach an agreement on the new minimum wage. Initially, the government held firm on its Tuesday proposal of N54,000, citing a lack of funds.

However, after a 30-minute recess for further discussions, the government and the organized private sector adjusted their proposal to N57,000. Despite this increase, the labour representatives rejected the revised amount.

“The final proposal from labour was N497,000, following the government’s and private sector’s proposal of N57,000,” stated a senior official from the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC). “Initially, the government refused to move from the N54,000 it proposed earlier, citing insufficient funds. We took a 30-minute break to deliberate further, but we, as Labour, rejected the proposed N57,000. The meeting has been adjourned until next Tuesday.”

Governors Obaseki and Uzodinma were present in the discussions, with Governor Soludo joining via Zoom. The senior NLC official expressed frustration with the government’s approach to the negotiations, highlighting the significant gap between labour’s final proposal and the government’s offer.

The outcome of the negotiation was disappointing for organized labour. “The Federal Government increased its offer from N54,000 to N57,000, while organized labour adjusted its demand from N615,000 to N500,000, and then to N497,000. The meeting has been adjourned to next Tuesday,” the NLC official noted. Before each negotiation session, the NLC and the Trade Union Congress (TUC) usually confer to determine their strategy.

President Bola Tinubu, through Vice President Kashim Shettima, inaugurated the 37-member Tripartite Committee on Minimum Wage on January 30, 2024. The committee, which includes representatives from federal and state governments, the private sector, and organized labour, is tasked with recommending a new national minimum wage ahead of the expiration of the current N30,000 wage on April 18.

As the panel continues its work, all eyes are on next Tuesday’s meeting to see if a consensus can finally be reached, balancing the government’s budget constraints with the pressing demands of organized labour for a substantial wage increase.


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