Meeting Adjourned as Labor Rejects Revised N54,000 Minimum Wage Offer

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The federal government’s latest proposal of N54,000 as the minimum wage was met with rejection by Organized Labor during the resumed national minimum wage negotiation on Tuesday. The impasse led to the postponement of the meeting to Wednesday, as both labor representatives and government officials failed to reach a consensus.

This marked the third instance where the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and the Trade Union Congress (TUC) officials and government representatives couldn’t find common ground on the national minimum wage issue.

Previously, labor leaders had walked out of a meeting after the federal government proposed N48,000 as the minimum wage. Simultaneously, the Organized Private Sector offered an initial N54,000 in response to labor’s proposed N615,000.

NLC’s National President, Joe Ajaero, remained firm on the demand for N615,000, citing an analysis of the economic situation and the needs of an average Nigerian family of six. He criticized the government for lacking substantiated data to support its offer, which he believed undermined the negotiation’s credibility.

To encourage labor’s return to the negotiation table, the Chairman of the Tripartite Committee on National Minimum Wage, Alhaji Bukar Goni, informed the group of the government’s agreement to raise its previous N48,000 proposal.

During Tuesday’s meeting, the government proposed N54,000, yet labor stood firm on its N615,000 living wage demand. Sources privy to the negotiation revealed that the government increased its offer from N48,000 to N54,000.

However, labor rejected this offer, prompting the adjournment of the meeting to Wednesday. The lack of seriousness exhibited by the government was noted, with hopes that the private sector would also revise its initial offer.

Expressing concern, a senior labor leader emphasized the government’s apparent embarrassment regarding its offer’s realism. He cautioned that negotiations could only commence with a genuine display of seriousness from the government.

Meanwhile, the Campaign for Democratic and Workers’ Rights criticized the N48,000 and N54,000 minimum wage proposals by the government and the Organized Private Sector, labeling them as a significant joke. The group highlighted the government’s expenditure on frivolous items while claiming a lack of funds for a living wage for workers.

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