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Labour rejects N62,000 ‘starvation wage’, threatens to resume strike Tuesday

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Labour rejects N62,000 ‘starvation wage’, threatens to resume strike Tuesday

The Nigerian Labour Congress and Trade Union Congress have jointly revealed that the Organised Labour would no longer negotiate the ₦62,000 minimum wage offer being proposed by the Federal Government, describing the proposal as ‘starvation wage’.

The Organised Labour warned that should the Federal Government and National Assembly fail to act on the demands of workers by Tuesday, its organs will meet to decide on the resumption of the nationwide industrial strike.

Assistant General Secretary of the NLC, Chris Onyeka, who revealed this during a session on Channels Television, Monday morning, said labour would take a stand when the one-week grace period given to the Federal Government on Tuesday, June 4, 2024, expires by midnight of Tuesday, June 11, 2024.

“The Federal Government and the National Assembly have the call now. It is not our call. Our demand is there for them (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 Wage 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 (Tuesday). If after tomorrow, we have not seen any tangible response from the government, the organs of the Organised Labour will meet to decide on what next,” Onyeka said.

Talking about the possible decision of the Organised Labour if the government insists on ₦62,000, Onyeka said, “It was clear what we said. We said we are relaxing a nationwide indefinite strike. It’s like putting a pause on it. So, if you put a pause on something and that 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.”

He emphasised that the Organised Labour won’t accept any ₦62,000 or ₦100,000 “starvation wage” as the minimum wage for Nigerian workers, insisting on ₦250,000, as demanded by the Organised Labour at the last meeting of the Tripartite Committee on Minimum Wage on Friday, as the living wage for an average Nigerian worker.

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“We have never considered accepting ₦62,000 or any other wage that we know is below what we know is able to take Nigerian workers home. We will not negotiate a starvation wage.

“We have never contemplated ₦100,000 let alone of ₦62,000. We are still at ₦250,000, that is where we are, 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 the realities of the marketplace; realities of things we buy every day; bag of rice, yam, garri, and all of that,” he said.

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