Business Health High Channel News Politics Society Trending News

Minimum Wage: FG Targets N62,000, Govs Want N57,000

BY: HighCelebritySquard 

 

The Federal Government may be on a collision course with governors, and the private sector for agreeing to pay a minimum wage higher than N60,000.

According to findings by Saturday PUNCH, while the Federal Government may be ready to accept N65,000 as the new minimum wage, governors and the organised private sector were against paying as high as N60,000. They insisted that any figure above N57,000 may not be sustainable.

The major argument by the governors, according to insiders, is that the states would be left with nothing for developmental projects if they accepted to pay a minimum wage above N57,000, as they would have to pay a large chunk of their resources as wages to workers.

Negotiation not over

However, the negotiation for a new minimum wage is far from over as Organised Labour and the Federal Government continue to make offers and counter-offers.

Organised Labour, comprising of the Nigeria Labour Congress and the Trade Union Congress, had again rejected the offer of the Federal Government to pay N60,000 as a new minimum wage for workers.

The Organised Labour also shifted ground from its N497,000 stance last week to N494,000.

A prominent member of the Tripartite Committee for the negotiation of a new minimum wage for Nigerian workers had told The PUNCH that the Federal Government and Organised Private Sector side of the talks proposed a N60,000 monthly minimum wage on Tuesday, as against the N57,000 they proposed last week when the committee last met.

The government and the OPS had initially proposed N48,000 and N54,000 last week, which were also rejected by Organised Labour.

Meetings

The organised labour had presented N615,000 as the new minimum wage but saw reasons to drop their demand to N497,000 last week, and then to N494,000 on Tuesday.

The last meeting of the committee was, however, deadlocked as talks ended without an agreement on what to pay as the new minimum wage.

The labour unions said the current minimum wage of N30,000 could no longer cater to the well-being of an average Nigerian worker, lamenting that not all governors were paying the current wage award, which expired in April 2024, five years after the Minimum Wage Act of 2019 was signed by former President Muhammadu Buhari.

FG’s proposal unsubstantial – Ajaero

NLC President, Joe Ajaero, described as ‘unsubstantial’, the fresh proposals by the government. “It is still not substantial compared to what we need to get a family moving,” the labour leader had said of the current N30,000 wage paid to workers in the country.

“The economy of the workers is totally destroyed. In fact, the workers don’t have any economy. I think there are two economies in the country— the economy of the bourgeoisie and the economy of the workers. I think we have to harmonise this so that we can have a meeting point,” Ajaero had said.

Strike

For failing to meet their demands, the unions embarked on a nationwide strike on Monday.

Although the strike was short-lived, it grounded economic activities in the country.

The strike, which commenced on Monday, was called to protest the failure of the Federal Government to approve a new minimum wage by May 31, as well as its failure to reverse the hike in electricity tariff.

A reliable source reported that after a six-hour meeting with the leadership of Organised Labour in Abuja on Monday night, the Federal Government expressed the commitment of President Bola Tinubu to raising the N60,000 offered as the minimum wage.

The agreement stated, “The President of Nigeria, Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, is committed to establishing a National Minimum Wage higher than N60,000; and the Tripartite Committee will convene daily for the next week to finalise an agreeable National Minimum Wage.”

Organised Labour also agreed to “immediately hold meetings of its organs to consider this new offer, and no worker would face victimisation as a consequence of participating in the industrial action.”

These resolutions were signed on behalf of the Federal Government by Minister of Information and National Orientation, Mohammed Idris; and Minister of State for Labour and Employment, Nkeiruka Onyejeocha.

‘Why governors can’t pay N65,000 minimum wage’

Governors, however, accused the Federal Government of caving under labour’s pressure without critically looking at the feasibility of paying above N60,000 for states.

A governor from the south, who is a member of the opposition, while speaking with our correspondent under anonymity, lamented how he would use huge amounts to pay less than 200,000 civil servants in the state, which did not constitute more than five per cent of the population.

The anger, according to A reliable source findings, is however more among players in the Organised Private Sector.

Retract anti-workers statement’

Meanwhile, the NLC berated the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, George Akume, for terming Monday’s shut down of the national grid during the strike as “treasonable felony and economic sabotage.”

While rejecting the SGF’s insinuations, the NLC said that the former Benue State Governor’s utterances clearly exposed his personality.

In a statement by its Head, Information and Public Affairs, Benson Upah, the NLC argued that, “Those who loot our treasury around the country, those who divert public resources meant for hospitals and schools; those who are involved in foreign exchange round-tripping; padding of budgets and inflating contracts including those who steal trillions of Naira in the name of subsidy are the real economic saboteurs who commit treasonable felony.

 

Please follow and like us:

Leave a Reply

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