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Tinubu to meet Organised Labour Thursday

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Tinubu to meet Organised Labour Thursday

President Bola Tinubu is set to meet with Organised Labour in Abuja on Thursday to continue deliberations regarding a potential new minimum wage for Nigerian workers.

The President has extended an invitation to the leadership of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and Trade Union Congress (TUC) for the meeting, which is expected to take place at the Aso Villa in the capital city.

President Tinubu is expected to address the government and private sector’s ₦62,000 proposal, as well as the Organised Labour’s demand for ₦250,000.

This crucial meeting comes approximately a month after the President mentioned in his Democracy Day speech on June 12, 2024, that an executive bill for the new national minimum wage would soon be sent to the National Assembly for approval.

On June 25, the Federal Executive Council (FEC), led by the President, deferred the consideration of the memo on the new minimum wage to allow for more extensive engagements with stakeholders.

Shortly after, at the 141st meeting of the National Economic Council (NEC), Tinubu and Vice President Kassim Shettima engaged with governors from all 36 states and ministers to discuss the new minimum wage.

READ ALSO: Labour unions suspend nationwide strike for 1 week

Discussions regarding an updated minimum wage for Nigerian employees have been ongoing, as the Minimum Wage Act of 2019, which set ₦30,000 as the minimum wage, expired in April 2024. This Act necessitates review every five years to align with the current economic needs of workers.

In January, President Bola Tinubu established a Tripartite Committee to negotiate a new minimum wage, including representatives from Organised Labour, federal and state governments, and the Organised Private Sector.

However, the committee members failed to reach an agreement on a new realistic minimum wage for workers, forcing labour to declare an indefinite industrial action on Monday, June 3, 2024. Businesses were paralysed as labour shut down airports, hospitals, the national grid, banks, National Assembly, and state assemblies’ complexes.

The labour unions said the current minimum wage of ₦30,000 can no longer cater to the well-being of an average Nigerian worker, saying the government should offer workers something economically realistic in tandem with current inflationary pressures, attendant effects of the twin policies of petrol subsidy removal and unification of the forex windows of the current administration.

Labour “relaxed” its strike on June 4, 2024 following assurances from the President that he was committed to a wage above ₦60,000.

Both the Trade Union Congress (TUC) and Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) leadership subsequently resumed talks with the representatives of the Federal Government, states, and the Organised Private Sector.

On Friday, June 7, 2024, the two sides (labour and the government) still failed to reach an agreement. While labour dropped again its demand from ₦494,000 to ₦250,000, the government added ₦2,000 to its initial ₦60,000 and offered workers ₦62,000.

Both sides submitted their reports to the President who is expected to make a decision and send an executive bill to the National Assembly to pass a new minimum wage bill to be signed into law by the President.

Proofreading by Fa’izatu Aliyu Doma, Journalist at Neptune Prime. 

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