Minimum wage: NLC defends N615,000 demand as FG, Labour talks deadlocked

The organised labour yesterday urged the federal government to increase the minimum wage to N615, 000.

It said this was in line with current economic realities in the country, including the steep rise in prices of essential goods such as food, transportation, and electricity.

The president of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Joe Ajaero and his Trade Union Congress (TUC) counterpart, Festus Osifo, made this demand at the Eagle Square, Abuja, the venue of the Workers’ Day celebration.

They asked the government to conclude the process of implementing the new national minimum wage for workers by the end of May.

They warned that failure to do this would lead to a showdown.

The NLC had Tuesday night described the 25 and 35 per cent salary increment for different categories of public servants as “a waste of time.”

In his speech yesterday, Comrade Ajaero said: “At this point, comrades, we want to inform you that the process of fixing a new national minimum wage is continuing.

“All parties in the tripartite process are well represented and the engagement has been robust. We have placed our demand of N615,000 only before our social partners while we await their offer.

“If, however, the negotiation of the minimum wage is not concluded by the end of May, the trade union movement in Nigeria will no longer guarantee industrial peace in the country,” Ajaero said.

He also said labour had placed a demand that the new Act would have a two-year life span with an agreement for automatic adjustments in wages any time inflation exceeded 7.5 per cent.

He said Nigerian workers deserved to have a national minimum wage that approximated a living wage.

“Our figures are based on objective realities around the nation and not based on some fantasy; but on what confronts us as workers around the nation.

However, President Bola Tinubu’s Special Adviser on Information and Strategy, Mr Bayo Onanuga, faulted workers’ insistence on the N615,000 minimum wage. He said the government and labour unions had not agreed on the amount for the minimum wage.

Top officials of the Federal Ministry of Labour and Employment, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorised to speak on the issue, said while the organised labour was insisting on N615,000 minimum wage, the government and the private sector were proposing between N60,000 and N70,000, resulting in a stalemate in negotiations.

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