Tuesday, June 18, 2024
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HomeLatestMinimum Wage Talks Stalled as Labour Rejects Govt's Revised N57,000 Proposal

Minimum Wage Talks Stalled as Labour Rejects Govt’s Revised N57,000 Proposal

For the second consecutive day, negotiations on a new national minimum wage involving the Federal Government, organized labour, and the Organised Private Sector (OPS) ended in deadlock. Minimal adjustments were made to previous offers, leaving discussions unresolved.

The meeting, which saw the notable absence of the six governors on the committee, was briefly attended by Imo State Governor, Hope Uzodimma. The talks have been adjourned to Tuesday, May 28, 2024.

Organized labour initially reduced its wage demand from N615,000 to N500,000, and then to N497,000. In contrast, the OPS increased its offer from N54,000 to N57,000. The government team, which had previously proposed N54,000, matched the OPS offer after a short consultation break.

Sources indicated that the labour representatives immediately rejected the new offers, accusing the government of not being serious about negotiations. “Government cannot be telling us that there is no money; this is an insult,” one labour leader remarked, pointing to recent government expenditures on luxury items and subsidies for hajj operations.

The labour leader criticized the government’s economic policies, including the removal of petrol subsidies and the floating of the national currency, which he said had worsened workers’ living conditions. He highlighted the disparity between the government’s claims of financial constraints and its spending on political elites and other non-essential areas.

“Crude oil sales have increased, and the government is receiving more money, yet workers are suffering,” he stated. He also noted that state governors are receiving significantly more funds than before the subsidy removal, further exacerbating workers’ hardships.

The meeting ended with labour representatives rejecting the N57,000 offer and expressing frustration over the lack of progress. “They are insisting on N57,000, which is effectively a wage reduction,” one source said. The source indicated that labour had asked for a breakdown of the N57,000 offer, which the government did not provide.

The government’s negotiating team, led by Minister of State for Labour and Employment Nkeiruka Onyejeocha, included Ministers of Finance Wale Edun, Budget Atiku Bagudu, and Labour Nkeiruka Onyejeocha. Despite the presence of some government officials, the absence of the six governors representing the geopolitical zones was notable.

The ongoing stalemate and the apparent unwillingness of the government to make substantial concessions have set the stage for potential industrial unrest. Labour leaders have warned of possible strikes if their demands are not met by the end of May.

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