Minimum Wage: Why Labour Not Resuming Suspended Strike Tuesday – NLC President

NLC President, Comrade Joe Ajaero


President of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Joe Ajaero, has advanced reasons why organised labour is not resuming the nationwide strike suspended for five days to enable Federal Government and labour unions to return to the negotiating table.


Ajaero said organised labour would not embark on strike on Tuesday because it 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.


The NLC President spoke on Monday at Geneva, Switzerland, where International Labour Conference is ongoing.


Ajaero said reports of the tripartite committee had been submitted to President Bola Tinubu, noting that labour would wait until President Tinubu disclose what his administration has as minimum wage for Nigerian workers.


Organised labour had paralysed activities across the country exactly a week ago over the failure of Federal Government to comply with its demand.

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However, the strike was suspended for a week after government pleaded for time to consider the demand.


President Bola Tinubu had asked Finance Minister, Wale Edun, to submit a template on minimum wage payment.


While Labour reduced its demand to N250,000 from N494,000, the Federal Government offered N62,000.


The Nigerian Governors’ Forum had later said N60,000 was too much in light of the economic realities.


The one-week suspension of the strike would elapse on Tuesday, making Nigerians confused over the next line of action.


Speaking Labour Convention at Geneva, the NLC President explained that the submission of N62,000 as proposed by the government and members of the organised private sector, with labour proposing N250,000 does not translate to labour accepting N62,000 as the new minimum wage.


“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.

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“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, 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,” he told journalists during the interview.


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


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

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“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.”


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