The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and Trade Union Congress (TUC) have made a bold move by walking out of ongoing minimum wage negotiations with the government and the Organised Private Sector (OPS). This decision stems from the NLC and TUC’s discontent with the Federal Government’s proposal of N48,000 as the national minimum wage. NLC President Joe Ajaero expressed their frustration, stating, “The Government’s proposal of a paltry N48,000 as the Minimum Wage does not only insult the sensibilities of Nigerian workers but also falls significantly short of meeting our needs and aspirations.”

The joint statement by Ajaero and TUC’s Deputy President, Mr. Tommy Okon, further emphasized the disparity between the proposed N48,000 and the prevailing standards. The statement highlighted the stark contrast, with the private sector’s least paid workers receiving N78,000 per month. This discrepancy underscores the unwillingness of employers and the government to engage in meaningful negotiations for a fair National Minimum Wage for Nigerian workers.

The unions, demanding a significant increase, have proposed a minimum wage of N615,000, citing the high cost of living in Nigeria. This proposal, which was reached after consultations between NLC and TUC, reflects the economic realities faced by Nigerian workers. Ajaero reiterated that the current minimum wage of N30,000 is no longer sufficient to cater to the wellbeing of an average worker, especially considering the rising inflation and economic challenges.

The urgency of this matter is evident as the current wage award, which stands at N35,000 augmented by Buhari’s 40% Peculiar allowance, is set to expire soon. The NLC and TUC have continually called for the upward review of wage awards, emphasizing the need for a fair and just wage that can support workers and their families in today’s economic landscape.

This development follows the inauguration of a Tripartite Committee on National Minimum Wage earlier in January, tasked with recommending a new minimum wage for the country. The unions’ stance reflects the growing concern over economic pressures faced by Nigerian workers and the imperative need for a wage that aligns with contemporary economic demands.

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