13th July 2024
Labour & Workers News

Labour Back To Square One As FEC Steps Down Minimum Wage Memo For Consultations

Labour Back To Square One As FEC Steps Down Minimum Wage Memo For Consultations

The Federal Executive Council (FEC) has stepped down consideration and deliberation on the memo on the new minimum wage to allow President Bola Tinubu engage in more consultation with stakeholders.

Minister of Information and National Orientation, Mohammed Idris, disclosed this on Tuesday while briefing State House correspondents on the decisions taken at the council meeting.

He said the President has studied the report submitted by the Tripartite Committee on Minimum Wage and would consult further before a final submission on a new national minimum wage to the National Assembly.

Long Walk To New Wage

Talks for a new minimum wage for Nigerian workers have been on for a while. The Minimum Wage Act of 2019, which made ₦30,000 the minimum wage, expired in April 2024. The Act should be reviewed every five years to meet up with contemporary economic demands of workers.

President Bola Tinubu in January set up a Tripartite Committee to negotiate a new minimum wage for workers. The committee comprise the Organised Labour, representatives of federal and state governments as well as 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, 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 wellbeing of an average Nigerian worker, saying 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.

In his Democracy Day speech on June 12, 2024, the President assured the Organised Labour that an executive bill on the new national minimum wage for workers would soon be sent to the National Assembly for passage.

The President is expected to make a decision on the ₦62,000 proposal of the government and private sector side; and the ₦250,000 demand of the Organised Labour.

– Channels TV (Except input in the headline)

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