Tinubu Faces Heat as NLC Insists on N250,000 Minimum Wage

Tinubu Faces Heat as NLC Insists on N250,000 Minimum Wage
Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu

The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) is set to advocate for a N250,000 minimum wage during a scheduled meeting with President Bola Tinubu at the State House in Abuja on Thursday.

Benson Upah, Head of Public Affairs for the NLC, confirmed that labor representatives would firmly present their N250,000 proposal in the session with the President. “We are going to the table with our demand of N250,000 even as the cost of living has since moved up. We have been very reasonable and patriotic,” Upah stated.

This meeting aligns with President Tinubu’s earlier commitment to engage in further consultations with stakeholders on the minimum wage. It follows his Democracy Day address on June 12, 2024, where he announced plans to introduce an executive bill to the National Assembly for a new national minimum wage.

On June 25, the Federal Executive Council, led by President Tinubu, postponed discussions on the new minimum wage to allow for additional stakeholder engagement. This decision came after Tinubu received the Tripartite Committee on Minimum Wage report from George Akume, Secretary to the Government of the Federation.

The report, delivered by Bukar Goni Aji, Chairman of the Tripartite Committee, suggested a minimum wage of N62,000, based on inputs from federal and state governments as well as the Organised Private Sector. However, the NLC has insisted on a N250,000 minimum wage, citing the current N30,000 wage as unsustainable due to inflation driven by recent policy changes, including the removal of petrol subsidies and the unification of forex windows.

State governors have expressed concerns about their ability to meet even the proposed N62,000 wage. This disagreement has stalled progress, with labor unions and government representatives unable to reach a consensus.

Tensions escalated when labor unions launched an indefinite strike on June 3, paralyzing economic activities and government functions across the nation. The strike, which affected airports, hospitals, banks, the national grid, and legislative complexes, was suspended after government assurances of an improved offer.

The tripartite committee, established by President Tinubu in January, includes representatives from Organised Labour, federal and state governments, and the Organised Private Sector, and is tasked with negotiating a new minimum wage ahead of the expiration of the 2019 Minimum Wage Act in April 2024.

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