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Nigeria Labour Congress rejects N100,000 minimum wage proposal

Organized Labour in Nigeria has firmly rejected any notion of accepting N100,000 as the new minimum wage, stressing that such an amount cannot meet the basic needs of workers and their families. 

The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and the Trade Union Congress (TUC), which form the core of Organized Labour, have been in negotiations with the government regarding the revision of the national minimum wage.

Last Wednesday, the labour unions walked out of a negotiation meeting after the government proposed a new minimum wage of N48,000. 

A subsequent letter from Alhaji Bukar Goni, the chairman of the Tripartite Committee on the National Minimum Wage, invited Organized Labour to a meeting, indicating the government’s willingness to reconsider its position and urging labour to also adjust its stance.

Benson Upah, the NLC Head of Information and Public Affairs, stressed the need for the government to approach the negotiations with seriousness and realism. 

Upah explained that the NLC’s demand for a N615,000 minimum wage is based on detailed calculations that account for basic living costs. 

He said the calculations include modest estimates for accommodation (N40,000) and food (N500 per meal for a family of six), among other essentials.

“The government hiked electricity tariffs by 250% after we made our demand, which has further increased living costs,” Upah told Vanguard.

Prof. Theophilus Ndubuaku, a member of the NLC delegation, also said an offer of N100,000 would be grossly inadequate, failing to cover basic living expenses for a worker with a family of six. 

He pointed out that even artisans in the private sector earn more than N100,000 per month.

Ndubuaku also criticized the government’s spending priorities, questioning large expenditures on non-essential projects and imported goods while neglecting essential needs like worker welfare. 

He urged the government to justify any lower wage proposals by demonstrating financial constraints transparently and outlining measures to create wealth and reduce governance costs.

“If the government argues it can’t afford N615,000, it should clearly demonstrate why, showing its revenue and spending priorities,” Ndubuaku stated. 

He stressed that any final agreement must consider the overall economic context and the need to improve the living standards of Nigerian workers.

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