• FG Urges Labour to Consider Broader Relief Measures Beyond Wage Increases

The Organized Labour has refuted President Bola Tinubu’s assertion that a consensus on a new national minimum wage had been achieved. This clarification comes in response to the President’s Democracy Day address, during which he claimed that an agreement had been reached.

Labour leaders clarified that as of the conclusion of negotiations on June 7, no final agreement had been established by the Tripartite Committee on the National Minimum Wage. The negotiations had resulted in two proposed figures: N250,000 from labour and N62,000 from the government and the Organized Private Sector (OPS), which were to be presented to the President.

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Meanwhile, the Federal Government has called on labour to adopt a realistic approach in their demands for a new minimum wage. The government emphasized that the expected relief for Nigerians would not solely come from wage increases but from a range of measures the administration plans to implement.

In a statement by the acting President of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Prince Adewale Adeyanju, labour underscored that any deviation from the actual negotiation outcomes would not be accepted. Adeyanju highlighted the importance of accurately representing the negotiation results and urged the President to align with the true demands of Nigerian workers.

“The NLC listened attentively to the President’s Democracy Day address,” Adeyanju said. “While we acknowledge his recounting of our democratic journey, it is clear he was misinformed about the wage negotiation process. We did not reach an agreement on a base figure for the National Minimum Wage.”

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He continued, “Our demand remains N250,000, and we have seen no compelling reason to alter this position. The President’s assertion of an agreement is incorrect, and we need to clarify this to avoid confusion in the ongoing discussions about the national minimum wage.”

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Adeyanju also noted that the labour unions had faced intimidation and harassment during the negotiations, despite assurances from the government. He urged President Tinubu to demonstrate his commitment to the welfare of Nigerian workers by ensuring the final report reflects their true demands.

In a related development, the Minister of Information and National Orientation, Mohammed Idris, spoke at the 2024 Synod of the Charismatic Bishops Conference of Nigeria in Abuja. He emphasized the government’s commitment to a realistic and sustainable wage system that would not harm the economy or lead to mass retrenchment.

Idris stated, “The Federal Government is committed to reviewing the minimum wage realistically and sustainably. We are not opposed to wage increases, but we advocate for a system that won’t undermine the economy or jeopardize the welfare of Nigerians.”

He added that relief measures would also focus on reducing the cost of living and increasing disposable income for Nigerians, citing the Presidential CNG initiative as an example. The initiative aims to cut transportation costs by replacing or complementing petrol usage with CNG, potentially reducing these costs by up to 50%.