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We’re Open To Negotiations With FG On N615,000 Minimum Wage Proposal- TUC

Osifor added that despite the reassurances of various state governors to look into the matter.

By Nydra Ayibapreye

The Trade Union Congress of Nigeria (TUC) has stated that the proposed minimum wage of 615,000 naira is subject to negotiation with the government, as mentioned by TUC President Festus Osifo in a Thursday interview on Arise Television. Osifo emphasized the TUC’s readiness to engage in discussions and bargaining with the government.

He said, “The amount that we put forward, in reality we also understand from organised labor, when you are going for collective bargaining agreement, you would do your study, you know what is practically feasible and possible, you’ve done your analysis. What we have put forward is what we think will be the living wage and we have justification for that.

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“But it is a negotiation. When you go into negotiations, we are also expecting a counter offer from the government side. They will tell us no we can not pay 615,000, maybe what we could pay, let’s assume is 300,000 naira. We enter into conversations. We are open to have conversations.

“We are not forcing our position that the government must implement, either take it or leave it, no. But it is a negotiation, so we bring all our negotiation experts and tools to the table, we try to make the government understand why they must make the workers a priority.”

Osifor added that despite the reassurances of various state governors to look into the matter, a lot of states in Nigeria are still struggling to pay the current minimum wage for workers.

He said, “Every worker’s day, you have governors coming to the podium and making big announcements, but when you leave there, how many of these announcements are sought through? How many of them do see the light of the day?

“When you listen to those comments, you would be thinking that yes you have a lot of big statements coming up. Regrettably, over the years, we just see this as majorly rhetorics. I’m sorry to say but that is what it is. It’s just like a sound bite.

“In TUC, we had a NEC meeting about a week ago. So we did an analysis across each state of the federation. If you remember when we signed the agreement with the federal government on October 2nd last year, it had the provision of a wage award.

“We asked the various states to liaise with their respective state governors and see what could be done on how they will bring about the 35,000 naira wage award. Most of these states did nothing. Few states did. A state like Lagos, a State like Oyo. We had some states that actually did.

“But you have some states that did literally nothing. Some said they couldn’t do 35,000, so some were doing 20,000 in addition to whatsoever they were paying. For us it was abysmal but it was even better than the states that did nothing.”

Osifo further emphasized that rather than consistently neglecting the needs of workers and offering excuses for failing to adequately attend to them, the government should fulfill its obligations towards them.

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