“We won’t accept N100,000 minimum wage” Labour says

The organised labour has said there is no way it would accept N100, 000 as minimum wage.

This is as the 37-member Tripartite Committee on National Minimum Wage on Monday, June 10, submitted its report to President Bola Ahmed Tinubu after about five months of sittings.

The organised Labour had gone on strike on Monday, June 3, but suspended it for a week on Tuesday, June 4,  after the federal government pleaded for negotiation.

The Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Senator George Akume, then summoned labour leaders to an emergency meeting after the strike.

At the end of the meeting, it was disclosed that representatives of the federal government and the private sector in the tripartite committee for the negotiation of a new minimum wage proposed N62, 000, while the organised labour scaled down from N494, 000 to N250, 000.

Speaking on Monday, June 10, President of NLC, Joe Ajaero, said there will be no protest or industrial action for now over the new minimum wage.

Ajaero revealed this in an interview with selected journalists in Geneva, Switzerland, during the ongoing International Labour Conference.

He said reports of the tripartite committee had been submitted to President Tinubu.

He added that the organised labour could not embark on strike on Tuesday, June 11, because they would have to wait for the president to consider the figures submitted by the tripartite committee on minimum wage before further action could be taken.

Ajaero said: “The tripartite committee submitted two figures to the president. Government and employers proposed N62, 000 while labour proposed N250, 000. We are waiting for the decision of the president.

“Our National Executive Council (NEC) will deliberate on the new figure when it is out. We cannot declare strike now because the figures are with the president. We will wait for the president’s decision.

“During the tenure of the immediate-past president (Buhari), the figure that was proposed to him was N27, 000 by the tripartite committee, but he increased it to N30, 000.

“We are hopeful that this president will do the right thing. The president had noted that the difference between N62, 000 and N250, 000 is a wide gulf.”

Ajaero also slammed the state governors under the umbrella body of the Nigerian Governors’ Forum for rejecting the N62, 000 minimum wage proposal.

He said, “How can any governor say he cannot pay? They cannot also be calling for the decentralization of the minimum wage. Are their wages decentralized?

“Governors whose states are not contributing a dime to the national purse and who generate pitiable Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) are collecting the same amount as governors whose states are generating billions of dollars into the FAAC.

“They should decentralize their salaries and emoluments first. So, where is the governor of Edo State, Godwin Obaseki getting his money from? He is paying N70, 000 minimum wage. This is the type of governor that should be emulated and not the lazy ones.”

Also speaking yesterday on the current development, the assistant general secretary of the NLC, Chris Onyeka, who featured on Channels TV’s Morning Brief on Monday, said if the federal government and the National Assembly failed to act on workers’ demands by today, June 11, the NLC and TUC would meet to decide whether to resume the nationwide industrial action that was lifted last week.

He said: “Our position is very clear; we have never considered accepting N62, 000 or any other wage we know is below what Nigerian workers can take home. We will not negotiate a starvation wage.

“We have never contemplated N100, 000, let alone N62, 000. We are still at N250, 000; and that is what we considered enough concession to the government and the other social partners in this particular situation. We are not just driven by frivolities but also by the realities of the market place – the realities of things we buy every day: bags of rice, yam, garri and all of that.

“The federal government and the National Assembly have the call now. It is not our call. Our demand is for the government to look at and send an executive bill to the National Assembly and for the National Assembly to look at what we have demanded, the various facts of the law, and then come up with a national minimum act that meets our demands.

“If that does not meet our demand, we have given the federal government a one-week notice to look at the issues, and that one week expires tomorrow (June 11). If after tomorrow (today), we have not seen any tangible response from the government, the organs of the organised labour will meet to decide what to do next.

“It was clear that we said we were relaxing a nationwide indefinite strike. It is like putting a pause on it. So, if you put a pause on something and the organs that govern us as trade unions decide that we should remove that pause, it means that we go back to what was in existence before.”

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