Labor rejects FG’s new N54,000 minimum wage offer, talks postponed until Wednesday

The meeting on the ongoing negotiations on the new minimum wage has been postponed to Wednesday after the unions rejected the new minimum wage proposal of N54,000 by the Federal Government, a very reliable source who attended told our correspondent on Wednesday. to the meeting.

The PUNCH had exclusively reported that the Federal Government increased its offer from N48,000 previously proposed to N54,000.

Tuesday’s meeting came as a result of the strike organized by members of the unions following the proposal of N48,000 as minimum wage by the Federal Government during last week’s meeting.

During that meeting, PAHO had also proposed N54,000, while the workers insisted on their demand for a living wage of N615,000.

Our correspondent who spoke to sources who attended the follow-up meeting on Tuesday learned that the Federal Government increased its offer from N48,000 to N54,000.

“Well, during the meeting, the government increased its offer from N48,000 to N54,000. However, the unions rejected that offer and the meeting was postponed until Wednesday,” said a source who asked not to be identified.

Asked if the government side was showing any signs of seriousness, the union leader said: “No seriousness at all. Not even the state governors showed up. Those who represented them, such as Bauchi and Niger states, had no mandates to speak on their behalf.

“As for the private sector, we did not contact them before the meeting adjourned, but we expect them to also increase their initial offer.”

Organized labor on Monday reiterated its May 31, 2024 deadline for implementing the new minimum wage.

The National President of the Nigerian Labor Congress, Joe Ajaero, insisted on a minimum wage of N615,000, arguing that the amount was arrived at after an analysis of the current economic situation and the needs of an average Nigerian family of six.

He blamed the government and PAHO for the breakdown of negotiations, saying: “Despite serious efforts to reach an equitable agreement, unreasonable action by the Government and the organized private sector has led to a breakdown in negotiations.”

In a statement issued at the end of the joint meeting of the NEC and the TUC signed by Joe Ajaero, president of the NLC and Festus Osifo, president of the TUC, the unions said they recognize the ongoing negotiations between the NLC/TUC, the Organized Sector union Private and Federal Government regarding the new national minimum wage.

While appreciating what they described as efforts made so far, the NLC and TUC emphasized the urgency of reaching a fair and equitable agreement that reflects the true value of the contributions of Nigerian workers to the development of the nation and the current crisis of survival faced by Nigerians as a result of government policies.

They also affirmed a commitment to ensuring that the interests and well-being of workers are adequately protected in the negotiation process.

President Bola Tinubu, through Vice President Kashim Shettima, on January 30, 2024 inaugurated the 37-member Tripartite Committee on Minimum Wage to come up with a new minimum wage before the current salary of N30,000 expires on April 18.

Since its members span federal and state governments, the private sector and unions, the panel will recommend a new national minimum wage for the country.

During the inauguration of the panel, Shettima urged members to “quickly” reach a resolution and submit their reports as soon as possible.

“This timely presentation is crucial to ensure the emergence of a new minimum wage,” Shettima said.

In fulfillment of its task, a zonal public hearing was simultaneously held on March 7 in Lagos, Kano, Enugu, Akwa Ibom, Adamawa and Abuja.

The NLC and the TUC in different states proposed various figures as a living wage, making reference to the current economic crisis and high costs of living.

In their different proposals on the minimum wage, NLC members in the southwestern states demanded N794,000, while the TUC suggested N447,000.

At the North-Central zonal hearing in Abuja, workers demanded N709,000 as the new national minimum wage, while their South-South counterparts demanded N850,000.

A minimum wage of N485,000 was proposed in the North West, while stakeholders in the South East demanded a minimum wage of N540,000.

But the unions settled for N615,000 as a living wage.

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