Organised labour has staunchly rejected the N48,000 proposed by the federal government as the minimum wage for public service workers, citing concerns about its adequacy amidst the country’s escalating cost of living.

The government’s stance was presented to labour during the resumed tripartite committee meeting on Wednesday, May 15. In response, the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and Trade Union Congress of Nigeria (TUC) dramatically walked out of the virtual meeting, expressing their dissatisfaction with the proposal.

A vocal labour leader, who was part of the meeting, criticized the government’s approach, stating, “What the government has presented to us is wage reduction. This government is not serious about giving workers a living wage.”

This rejection comes despite promises made by President Tinubu on May Day, where he assured workers of an improved wage scale. NLC and TUC, in contrast, proposed a minimum wage of N615,000, aligning their demands with the realities of the high cost of living.

During the contentious meeting, the Nigeria Employers’ Consultative Association (NECA) proposed N54,000 as the new minimum wage, acknowledging the economic challenges faced by workers.

As tensions rise, both NLC and TUC have called for an emergency press briefing to disclose the federal government’s proposal and outline their next course of action.

The tripartite committee, inaugurated by President Tinubu on January 30 and chaired by Goni Aji, comprises representatives from federal and state governments, the private sector, and organised labour. Its mandate is to recommend a new national minimum wage, with an emphasis on expediency and collective bargaining in good faith.

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