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June 25, 2024
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Minimum wage Negotiation deadline ends today, as Tinubu sets to decide new figure

The new minimum wage talks between the Federal Government and Organised Labour are expected to end on Monday (today) as the Nigeria Labour Congress and the Trade Union Congress leaders await President Bola Tinubu’s decision on their N250,000 offer.

The labour leaders had given a Monday deadline for the conclusion of talks on the new minimum wage.

Last Friday, the Tripartite Committee on National Minimum Wage concluded its meetings where the Federal Government and the Organized Private Sector agreed on N62,000 while Labour demanded N250,000.

However, the Nigeria Governors Forum in a statement said any minimum wage higher than N60,000 was not sustainable.

Speaking with our correspondents on Sunday, labour leaders noted that the parties were waiting for the President to decide on the proposals presented by the tripartite committee.

President of NLC Joe Ajaero said that labour was awaiting the President’s response to the recommendation adopted at the Friday meeting of the Tripartite Committee on the new minimum wage in Abuja.

Labour’s first reaction to the proposal on Friday was that of rejection with Trade Union Congress (TUC) President Festus Osifo insisting that the minimum acceptable to workers was N250,000.

Contacted, Ajaero said he expected the President to make further consultation on the committee’s recommendation before taking a final decision on the minimum wage by way of an Executive Bill to be sent to the National Assembly.

“We’ll wait for the harmonisation of such consultation,” he said

Also, the labour leaders, who did not want to be quoted for security reasons, said the NLC President, Joe Ajaero and other top union officials had left the country to participate in a labour conference organised by the International Labour Organisation in Geneva, Switzerland.

It was gathered that the labour leaders would hold their National Executive Council meeting where a decision on the strike would be taken on their return from Geneva, based on the feedback from the president.

“As it stands some of us are on the way to Geneva for the ILO conference. Some of us are going today (Sunday), some have gone already while others w“Before we can even hold a NEC meeting, we must come back from Geneva first. Also, we are trying to be careful so the government won’t say Labour is inciting citizens against the government,” a top NLC official said.

When asked about (today) Monday’s ultimatum, another source within the NLC said, “Well, we have sent a report to the committee and we are expecting the president to act on it.

“We should hold a National Executive Council meeting regarding the ultimatum when we return from Geneva. It is very important for us to be there but right now, we are patiently waiting for the decision of Mr President.”

Organised Labour, comprising the NLC and TUC, embarked on a two–day nationwide strike last Monday and Tuesday to demand a new minimum wage for workers and the reversal of the electricity tariff hike.

However, the labour leadership suspended the strike for five days after signing a commitment with the Federal Government to resume negotiations and come up with a new minimum wage within a week.

The suspension of the strike followed a six-hour meeting between the leadership of labour and the National Assembly in Abuja, last Monday night.

To fast-track the talks, the President on Tuesday directed the finance minister, Wale Edun, to present the cost implications for a new minimum wage within two days.

Tinubu also directed the government representatives to work collectively with the organised private sector and the sub-nationals to achieve a new affordable wage award for Nigerians.

The finance minister presented the cost implications of implementing a new national minimum wage to Tinubu at the Presidential Villa, alongside the Minister of Budget and National Planning, Atiku Bagudu, on Thursday.

The president was said to be reviewing the proposal, after which he would make an official announcement.

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