NLC Strike: FG Schedules Meeting with Labour Heads…details

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The federal government has decided to meet with the organized labour leaders over issues regarding the new minimum wage this week. This came immediately the president of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Joe Ajaero, announced a two-day nationwide strike over the economic hardship being experienced by Nigerians since the removal of petrol subsidy.

Recall that President Bola Tinubu had announced the discontinuance of petrol subsidy on May 29, 2023, which triggered a sharp rise in the general cost of living. Although the administration approved an additional N35,000 wage award for six months starting from September 2023 to alleviate the impact of the subsidy removal, the organised labour maintained that this was only a provisional solution and called for a complete review of the minimum wage.

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Ajaero had earlier said that rising inflation in the country might push the organised labour to demand N1 million as minimum wage. There are also strong indications that the organised labour is prepared to lower its demand for N1 million minimum wage for workers in the country in line with current realities. The shift in position will likely be communicated to the federal government during the second meeting of the tripartite committee on the minimum wage on Monday and Tuesday this week.

According to information revealed to  Politics Nigeria, the meeting would enhance deliberations between all parties involved in negotiations to allow for the announcement of a new minimum wage on or before April 1 following the expiration of the current N30,000 minimum wage as provided by the law. Recall that President Tinubu, through his vice, Kashim Shettima, had on January 30, 2024, inaugurated a 37-member panel on the new minimum wage at the Council Chamber of the State House in Abuja.

With its membership cutting across the federal and state governments, the private sector, and organised labour, the panel is to recommend a new national minimum wage for the country. In his opening address at the inauguration, Shettima urged members to “speedily” arrive at a resolution and submit a report early as the current N30,000 minimum wage expires at the end of next month. “The timely submission (of the report) is crucial to ensure the emergence of a new minimum wage,” Shettima said.

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