Connect with us

Nation

May Day: Labour gives FG May 31 deadline, insists on N615,000 minimum wage 

Published

on

May Day: Labour gives FG May 31 deadline, insists on N615,000 minimum wage 

Labour on Wednesday gave the Federal Government, May 31, the deadline to conclude the minimum wage negotiation or face nationwide industrial action.

This comes as negotiations between labour and the federal government for a new minimum wage ended in a deadlock following the inability of both parties to reach a consensus on the issue.

President Bola Tinubu gave this indication in his speech during this year’s International Workers’ Day celebration in Abuja, on Wednesday.

President’s Special Adviser on Information and Strategy, Mr Bayo Onanuga, also faulted workers’ insistence on the N615,000 minimum wage.

The organised labour during the May Day celebration at the Eagle Square, Abuja, insisted on N615,000 minimum wage, placing an 18-point demand before the government, threatening to shut down the country if the Federal Government failed to accede to their requests by May 31.

President of Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC, Mr Joe Ajaero and his Trade Union Congress, TUC, counterpart, Festus Osifo, lamented the excruciating living conditions of the Nigerian masses and especially of workers in the last year.

They said: “The last minimum wage of N30,000 expired on April 18 and we should be in the regime of new minimum wage as of today. Discussions were supposed to have been concluded.

“The Federal Government through the National Assembly legislated on it. But we saw that the discussion entered voice mail because the Federal Government refused to reconvene the meeting that was adjourned.

“We think the announcement now appears mischievous because there is no agreed minimum wage that the government is announcing. For them to announce it now, is an issue we are worried about at the NLC and the TUC.”

Thee labour leaders noted that though robust engagement with all stakeholders has been on, labour was pressing for a two-year lifespan for the new National Minimum Wage Act, with automatic adjustments triggered by inflation surpassing 7.5 per cent.

“The battle for a new national minimum wage rages on. Our demand of N615,000 stands firm, rooted in the grim reality of workers’ lives across the nation. Through rigorous engagement with all stakeholders, we’ve pressed for a two-year lifespan for the new act, with automatic adjustments triggered by inflation surpassing 7.5 per cent,” they said.

“Every employer with five employees and above must comply. We demand robust monitoring and strict penalties for non-compliant state governments. We have based our figures on real data gathered from your responses nationwide, ensuring that our demand reflects the true cost of living for an average family.

“Our message is clear: anything less than a living wage condemns workers to poverty. We urge vigilance as we near the finish line, determined not to let other interests derail our pursuit of economic justice. Together, we will ensure that President Tinubu’s promise of a living wage becomes a reality for every worker in Nigeria.

“If, however, the negotiation of the National 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.”

Lamenting the current energy crisis in the country, they said: “Our nation is crippled by this very incompetence and selfishness, leaving our citizens and economy vulnerable. Power, regardless of its origin, fuels economic growth. Oil and gas are lifelines for energy success worldwide. The government must collaborate with the people to ensure energy benefits all Nigerians, not just a privileged few.

“We demand action on our refineries. Promises remain unfulfilled, while operational ones in the private sector fail to ease the people’s suffering. There is suspicion of sabotage to profit from importing, at the expense of our economy. The recent refinery agreement lacks transparency, echoing past exploitation in other sectors.

Advertisement

“Claims of trillions spent on PMS subsidies baffle us. We demand clarity from the government on who benefits and who consumes the 40 million litres of projected daily consumption.

They also condemned the recent electricity tariff hike and demanded reversal within one week

“The power sector’s plight persists a decade after privatization. Conflict of interest hampers progress, and higher tariffs for nonexistent electricity are unjust. We reject unilateral and illegal tariff hikes and demand adherence to due process,” they said.

“A 300 per cent tariff hike would devastate domestic manufacturers. Consumer classification perpetuates inequality, akin to apartheid, endangering field workers’ lives.

“Reassessing privatization is crucial for progress. Despite billions invested, grid collapses persist, and generation remains stagnant. Tanzania’s recent action underscores the need for change. The government must reclaim control and account for revenue from its stake.

“We commend states pursuing independent power generation and urge swift action to break monopolies and empower consumers nationwide. Let us unite to ensure energy serves all Nigerians, driving our nation’s prosperity.

“The NLC and TUC hereby advise NERC and power sector operators to reverse the last increase in electricity tariff within the next one week.”

Both Labour leaders also lamented the state of insecurity, saying “Our nation is bleeding. In just the past year, over 4,800 lives have been lost to violence, with over 400 kidnappings reported in a mere two weeks earlier this year. We’re ranked among the top 10 most terrorised nations globally, and it’s unacceptable.

“Banditry and terrorism have made life unsafe for farmers and communities nationwide. Travelling is a nightmare, economic activities suffer, and food shortage looms as farmlands are ransacked or abandoned.

“Despite billions allocated to security annually, the situation worsens. We must rethink our security approach, involving communities for greater safety. Security is communal, it starts with the people.

“A nation unable to secure itself isn’t ready for development. Economic growth hinges on security. We can’t ignore this existential issue. Investing in people secures the nation. It’s time to prioritize the people for a secure and prosperous nation.”

The NLC and TUC reminded the President that true leadership prioritises the people above all else.

They said: “Success is not measured by promises or control, but by how well we meet the people’s needs, ensure their security, and provide essential services. Good governance means accountability and prioritizing citizens.

“To achieve this, we must address corruption, insecurity, and the brain drain. Fair treatment of workers isn’t charity, it’s smart economics. We demand fair wages that motivate and inspire productivity.

“Our leaders must serve the nation, not exploit it. We reject greed and call for patriotism and commitment. Let’s build a nation we’re proud of.

“We insist on genuine dialogue and respect for democratic freedoms. Investigate attacks on journalists and communities impartially.

Advertisement

“Security starts with prioritising people. Let’s put Nigerians first for the sake of our nation’s future.”

The unions placed 18-point demand before FG, including:

1. That the government restrains itself from the use of violence in civic engagement within the Industrial relations sphere.

2. An immediate reversal of the unilateral hike in electricity tariff, enthronement of service reflective tariff and stoppage of segregation of consumers

3. An expansion of NLAC’s activities and increasing its periodicity.

4. The establishment of constant tripartite workplace audits at the federal, state and Enterprise levels

5. An immediate roll out of the CNG buses nationwide as agreed of the October 2, Agreement signed with the government

6. Full Implementation of Registrar of Trade Unions for Registering more unions, we demand that nee unions be registered in the informal sector.

7. We call for an urgent rethink of the Presidential system of government as practised in our country.

8. We call for ane call for a review of the Electricity Privatization exercise with the view to a reversal

9. Once again, we demand a two-state solution to the crisis in the Middle East. The hypocrisy around international issues imperils our world.

10. PTAD has been doing a good job so, do not scrap it but leave it for Pensioners.

11. We call for the payment of the N25,000 palliative promised to Pensioners since last year.

12. We call for a National Minimum Pension to be negotiated alongside the National Minimum Wage.

13. Nigerian workers call for a one-year moratorium on all forms of taxes, levies and dues collectable from the informal economy by state and local governments.

14. The immediate inclusion of workers in the Committee set up to implement the Oronsaye Report to ensure that workers’ interests are protected through the President’s actions and appointments since the assumption of office has already exacerbated the challenges the Report sought to resolve.

Advertisement

15. We demand the implementation of the Science, Technology and Innovation Policy, NSTIP, and its provisions for the National Research and Innovation Council, NRIC, for improved funding of research.

16. We call on the National Assembly to expedite the passage of the NRIC Bill and on Mr President to give assent thereafter.

17. The resurrection of fuel queues around the nation should be nipped in the bud immediately

18. The forwarding of the reviewed Labour Administration Laws in Nigeria to the National Assembly for passage into law.

Tinubu promises living wage:

Despite the stalemate in negotiations for a new minimum wage, Tinubu said his administration was poised to give workers better living and working conditions buoyed by “a fair living wage.”

In his address to workers at Eagle Square, Abuja, President Tinubu revealed that despite its efforts, the Tripartite Committee on Minimum Wage, established on January 30, 2024, could not reach a consensus at its last meeting with organised labour which was held on Monday.

Tinubu, who was represented by Vice President Kashim Shettima, explained, “You would recall that on January 30, 2024, the Federal Government convened a 37-member Tripartite Committee on Minimum Wage. The committee’s mandate was to provide counsel and suggest a national minimum wage that aligns with our current economic conditions.

“Since then, the committee, in collaboration with labour leaders, has been diligently working towards proposing a new National Minimum Wage.

“Unfortunately, despite concerted efforts, the committee was unable to reach a consensus at its last meeting.”

However, he promised to resolve the impasse to ensure the announcement of a living wage soon.

“This shall be resolved soon and I assure you that your days of worrying are over. Indeed, this government is open to the committee’s suggestion of not just a minimum wage but a living wage,” he stated.

In a statement signed by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity earlier, Tinubu affirmed that his administration remained committed to improving the welfare of all workers through various relief programmes including the wage award and the imminent minimum wage review.

“President Tinubu strongly believes that the custodians of the nation’s machinery deserve a fair wage and enhanced welfare and that a labourer is deserving of not just any reward but fair and commensurate wages.

“The President assures Nigerian workers of his dedication to not only improving their welfare but also enhancing their working conditions and providing the necessary tools for them to succeed,” the statement read.

Tinubu saluted Nigerian workers for their “fidelity to the peace, progress, and development of the nation evident in their tireless efforts and patriotic zeal to keep the national engine running.”

Advertisement

He commended workers across all spheres, from the clerical officer who ensures the proper documentation and distribution of correspondence, the security officer who remains ever dutiful through all seasons, and the teacher who secures the future of our nation by imparting knowledge to the next generation; the doctor who works relentlessly to save precious lives; and all Nigerian workers who keep the candle aflame.

Explaining the reasons for the negotiation impasse, the Presidency said the N615,000 minimum wage demanded by the organised labour did not sit well with the Federal Government because it could not pay such an amount.

News continues after this Advertisement
News continues after this Advertisement
Continue Reading
Advertisement
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Tags

Facebook

Advertisement

Advertisement