We’ll reject meagre addition to ₦60,000 as minimum wage — Labour vows


The Organised Labour, comprising the Trade Union Congress (TUC) and the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), has firmly declared its intention to reject any marginal increase to the ₦60,000 minimum wage proposed by the tripartite committee.

Speaking on Channels Television’s “Politics Today,” TUC President Festus Osifo expressed dissatisfaction with the current wage negotiations. This declaration follows the suspension of the industrial action initiated at 12:01 am on Monday, which was aimed at compelling the government to reconsider its position.

“At the meeting on Friday, they (the tripartite committee) said they would not add anything more to the ₦60,000, but in the meeting of yesterday (Monday), Mr. President committed to doing more than ₦60,000,” Osifo stated.

The tripartite committee, which includes representatives from the Federal Government, state governments, and the Organised Private Sector, had previously increased their offer in stages from ₦48,000 to ₦60,000, all of which were rejected by the unions.

When questioned about accepting a minor increase to the ₦60,000 offer, Osifo responded, “No, we also told them that it’s not acceptable to add just ₦1,000 or ₦2,000 incrementally. We need substantial guarantees that they will offer something meaningful.”

Osifo emphasized that while the unions are not demanding ₦494,000 as the new minimum wage, the committee must propose an amount that reflects the current economic realities and inflationary pressures. He insisted that the new wage should match the purchasing power of ₦30,000 in 2019 and ₦18,000 in 2014.

Osifo also criticized the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Lateef Fagbemi, for labeling the strike “premature” and “illegal.” He highlighted that the unions had issued a one-month notice to the government during this year’s Workers’ Day on May 1, 2024, which ended on May 31, 2024.

Despite the brief strike, Osifo believes it achieved its purpose by drawing national attention to the workers’ demands. “This strike has awoken everybody. Between now and the next week, the entire focus will be on the tripartite committee. That was our goal, and we have achieved it,” he said.

The nationwide strike was suspended after the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, George Akume, indicated President Bola Tinubu’s commitment to a minimum wage above ₦60,000. The President also instructed the Minister of Finance, Wale Edun, to present a new minimum wage template by Wednesday.

Mike Ojo

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