NEWS

Labour Submits N615,000 Minimum Wage Demand In Fresh Proposal

Organized labour, represented by the Nigerian Labour Congress and Trade Union Congress, has reportedly requested a new minimum wage of N615,000 for workers in Nigeria.

According to a reliable source within organized labour, who preferred to remain anonymous due to lack of authorization to discuss the matter, this proposed wage was agreed upon after consultations between the NLC and TUC.

The source, who also served on a government sub-committee tasked with establishing a new minimum wage, suggested that the wage could potentially increase further, especially in light of the recent electricity tariff hike.

The source said, “We (NLC and TUC) have given our figures to the government (on the minimum wage), and it is N615,000. That is the position of the NLC and TUC on the matter. The government has been informed as well.”

On January 30, President Bola Tinubu, represented by Vice President Kashim Shettima, established a 37-member panel at the Council Chamber of the State House in Abuja. Comprising representatives from federal and state governments, the private sector, and organized labour, the panel was given the responsibility of proposing a new national minimum wage.

During the panel’s inaugural meeting, Shettima encouraged members to expedite the process and submit their reports promptly, emphasizing that the current N30,000 minimum wage expired at the end of March 2024.

NLC President Ajaero had proposed N1 million as the new minimum wage, citing the country’s escalating inflation that had plunged many members into poverty. This announcement sparked controversies, with some experts questioning the feasibility and sustainability of such a wage.

However, another labour leader revealed in an interview that the NLC and TUC had tentatively set the new wage at N615,000.

Asked if the May 1 deadline was still on course, the labour leader said, “What I want you to know is that we are doing our best. Both the TUC and NLC have harmonised, and they have sent their position to the government.

“We are in the process. Be assured that once anything happens, I will, as usual, inform you. That is all I can tell you for now, because we have not met; even though we have submitted our unified positions to the Federal Government. We will be speaking with one voice.

“But, let me also hint you that with the removal of the electricity tariff subsidy, we are going to have another round of serious conversations with the government. Mind you, the tariff increase is also very good for us, because they (the government) did it when the new minimum wage process had not been concluded. So, it is going to be a good ground for us to ask for more.

“Our position will be defended based on the new price of N225 per kWh of electricity. Although we (the government and Labour) are not in agreement, we are waiting to meet and decide on the next point of action.”

The source added, “This is because if you look at the Electricity Act, it canvassed a position that before any increase at all, there must be stakeholders’ engagement. However, the Nigerian Electricity Regulation Commission unilaterally imposed the removal of the electricity tariff on the consumers, without recourse to stakeholders. That is in total defiance to the provisions of the Act.

“These are the issues that will be in the front burner of our next negotiation with the Federal Government.

“The new tariff will also give us another strategy to press the government on the need to move the minimum wage upward. This is because the government has not announced any new minimum wage yet, as we are still negotiating.

“As I said, the NLC and TUC have harmonised positions, which we have sent to the government. It is even now that the negotiation will start properly. All that we have done so far was to try to lay the foundation, and now that we have come up with our positions, the government will also come up with their own. We will then start a fresh negotiation.”

….The PUNCH Newspaper

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