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Labour pulls out of ongoing negotiations on new national minimum wage

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Organised Labour says it has pulled out from the ongoing Tripartite Committee on the new national minimum wage negotiations meeting for workers.

The Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC, and the Trade Union Congress, TUC, at a joint news conference stated this on Wednesday in Abuja.

The Organised labour had said that the government ‘s proposal of N48,000 as new minimum wage for workers was not just a “mockery but an insult to Nigerian’s dignity’.

The union walked out in the middle of the negotiations due to the turn of events as they had proposed N615,000 as the new national minimum wage.

Also, the Nigeria Employers’ Consultative Association, NECA, had announced that the least worker in the private sector should be paid N78,000.

NECA later turned around to propose N54,000 as the new national minimum wage.

Joe Ajaero, NLC President and Tommy Etim-Okon, TUC Deputy President, at a joint statement entitled “Minimum Wage: Government Presents Wage Reduction”, had expressed disappointment at the turn of events.

Mr Ajaero said labour was disappointed at the unfortunate and the apparent unseriousness of the Government to engage in reasonable negotiation with Nigerian workers.

“Despite earnest efforts to reach an equitable agreement, the less than reasonable action of the Government and the Organised Private Sector (OPS) has led to a breakdown in negotiations, he said.

“The Government’s proposal of a paltry N48,000 (forty-eight thousand Naira) as the Minimum Wage does not only insult the sensibilities of Nigerian workers but also falls significantly short of meeting our needs and aspirations,”they said.

The statement also noted that in contrast the Organised Private Sector, OPS, proposed an initial offer of N54,000 though, it was worth noting that even the least paid workers in the private sector receives N78,000 per month as clearly stated by the OPS.

It noted that this highlight the stark disparity between the proposed minimum wage and prevailing standards further demonstrating the unwillingness of employers and government to faithfully negotiate a fair National Minimum Wage for Workers in Nigeria.

It also said that the Federal Government’s failure to provide any substantiated data to support their offer exacerbates the situation.

According to the two labour centres, this lack of transparency and good faith undermines the credibility of the negotiation process and erodes trust between the parties involved.

“As representatives of Nigerian workers, we cannot in good conscience accept a wage proposal that would result in a reduction in income for federal-level workers.

“The workers, who are already receiving N30,000 as mandated by law, augmented by Buhari’s 40 per cent Peculiar allowance (N12,000) and the N35,000 wage award, totaling N77,000 only.

“Such a regressive step would undermine the economic well-being of workers and their families and is unacceptable in a National Minimum Wage Fixing process.

“In light of these developments, and in order to prevent the negotiation of a wage deduction, the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and Trade Union Congress (TUC) have taken the decision to walk out of the negotiation process.

“We remain committed to advocating for the rights and interests of Nigerian workers and will continue to engage in reasonable dialogue with the government if they show serious commitment to find a fair and sustainable resolution to this impasse,”it stated.

It therefore called on the government to reconsider its position and come to the negotiation table with clear hands that reflects the true value of the contributions made by Nigerian workers to the nation’s development.
NAN

 

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