Home News Labour reduces minimum wage demand to N497k, FG laments funds shortage

Labour reduces minimum wage demand to N497k, FG laments funds shortage

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The tripartite committee on new minimum wage has adjourned till next Tuesday, 28 May to continue deliberation after Wednesday’s meeting in Abuja ended in a deadlock again.

The Federal Government, the organised private sector and the organised labour failed to reach a consensus on the new minimum wage at the Wednesday meeting.

Sources at the meeting told The PUNCH that the government initially stood its ground on the N54,000 it proposed on Tuesday, citing paucity of funds.

The government was forced to propose the sum of N57,000 after the committee took a 30-minute break to make further deliberations.

The highly informed sources noted that at the end of the break, both the government and the OPS proposed the sum of N57,000 as minimum wage.

The sum was rejected by labour.

“The final proposal from labour was N497,000 and that was after the government and the private sector proposed N57,000.

“Initially, the government refused to shift grounds on the N54,000 it proposed earlier, noting that it didn’t have enough funds to pay. However, we took a 30-minute break to make further deliberations.

“We as Labour reject the proposed N57,000 and the meeting has been adjourned till Tuesday next week.

“Governors Obaseki and Uzodinma were present while Governor Soludo joined us via Zoom. The government needs to be serious as regards these negotiations”.

Also speaking to The PUNCH, a senior official of Nigeria Labour Congress said, “The outcome of the negotiation of the National Minimum Wage Committee with the Federal Government is not encouraging. The Federal Government increased it from N54,000 to N57,000, and the organised labour moved from N615,000 to N500,000, and then to N497,000 and the meeting has been adjourned to next week Tuesday”.

He noted that NLC and TUC normally meet before the negotiation meeting commences “to ask ourselves the direction to go”.

President Tinubu through Vice President Kashim Shettima, had on 30 January 2024, inaugurated the 37-member Tripartite Committee on Minimum Wage to come up with a new minimum wage ahead of the expiration of the current N30,000 wage on 18 April.

With its membership cutting across federal and state governments, the private sector and organised labour, the panel is to recommend a new national minimum wage for the country.

During the inauguration of the panel, Shettima urged the members to “speedily” arrive at a resolution and submit their reports early.

“This timely submission is crucial to ensure the emergence of a new minimum wage”, Shettima said.

In furtherance of its assignment, a zonal public hearing was held simultaneously on 7 March in Lagos, Kano, Enugu, Akwa Ibom, Adamawa, and Abuja.

The NLC and the TUC in different states proposed various figures as a living wage, referencing the current economic crunch and the high costs of living.

In their different proposals on the minimum wage, the NLC members in the South-West states demanded N794,000 as the TUC suggested N447,000.

At the North-Central zonal hearing in Abuja, the workers demanded N709,000 as the new national minimum wage, while their counterparts in the South-South clamoured for N850,000.

In the North-West, N485,000 was proposed, while the South-East stakeholders demanded N540,000 minimum wage.

Organised labour settled for N615,000 as a living wage.

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