Minimum Wage Talks – Labour Rejects NECA, Govt’s Offer of N54,000

The Organised Labour yesterday, rejected federal government’s new minimum wage offer of N54,000.

Following the outright rejection of government’s N48,000 by organised labour representatives – Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and the Trade Union Congress (TUC) at their previous engagement, the government side yesterday decided to raise it’s offer to N54,000 to be at par with what the organised private sector proposed.

Speaking to journalists after the resumed meeting of the Tripartite Committee on Minimum Wage yesterday, a member of committee representing NLC, Professor Theophilus Ndubuaku, said that labour has maintained position on it’s demand for N615,000 as new minimum wage.

He also said that the May 31 deadline labour had given to the government to conclude every negotiations still stands, adding that there may not be any other notice to government for strike if it fails to keep to the deadline.

He explained that before the N54,000 offer was made, it took the government team time to make up their mind.

According to him, the government’s team wasted time coming up with a position before the Minister of State for Labour and Employment, Hon. Nkeiruka Onyejeocha made the pronouncement of N54,000.

“We still told them that the ground they shifted was not enough and that they have not started the negotiation because as at now, the take home of the lowest paid worker is over N70,000. So, by their own standard we have not started negotiating minimum wage.

“What we are negotiating now is wage reduction because what they are now telling us is that if we walk out from there, if we agree on N54,000, that means we will come out and tell people who are already earning N77,000 that their wage has been reduced.

“We told them that it is not possible for workers to start earning less than what he/she was earning. Is it that there is reduction on inflation or that the cost of living has improved, or is it that the cost of food has come down?

“Why will they now be negotiating wage reduction? It’s unthinkable, we cannot be involved in this kind of a thing – that labour will sit down and be negotiating wage reduction. On what will it be based? Will it be based on the fact that the money they are collecting now since petroleum subsidy was removed has reduced?

“Or why will they now be talking about wage reduction when even the inflation is going higher and the cost of living is going higher? So, we told them that that it is not acceptable, but then we had to adjourn because we cannot continue to negotiate without the presence of governors, it will not augur well for the Tripartite Committee.

“They said they didn’t know why the governors were not there, six of them are supposed to be on that committee. We told them that this is a serious matter because when they refuse to come even if at the end we agree on anything they will say it’s not binding on them because they were not there.

“There was a permanent secretary that represented one governor and the person has no input, so nobody will take decision on their (governors) behalf when they are not there. So we said let’s adjourn and invite the governors formally. So, we had to adjourn to tomorrow (today) by 4pm.”


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