Minimum wage: FG targets N62,000, govs want N57,000

The Federal Government may be on a collision course with governors, and the private sector for agreeing to pay a minimum wage higher than N60,000.

According to findings, the Federal Government may be ready to accept N65,000 as the new minimum wage, governors and the organised private sector were against paying as high as N60,000. They insisted that any figure above N57,000 may not be sustainable.

The major argument by the governors, according to insiders, is that the states would be left with nothing for developmental projects if they accepted to pay a minimum wage above N57,000, as they would have to pay a large chunk of their resources as wages to workers.

Negotiation not over

However, the negotiation for a new minimum wage is far from over as Organised Labour and the Federal Government continue to make offers and counter-offers.

Organised Labour, comprising of the Nigeria Labour Congress and the Trade Union Congress, had again rejected the offer of the Federal Government to pay N60,000 as a new minimum wage for workers.

The Organised Labour also shifted ground from its N497,000 stance last week to N494,000.

A prominent member of the Tripartite Committee for the negotiation of a new minimum wage for Nigerian workers had told The PUNCH that the Federal Government and Organised Private Sector side of the talks proposed a N60,000 monthly minimum wage on Tuesday, as against the N57,000 they proposed last week when the committee last met.

The government and the OPS had initially proposed N48,000 and N54,000 last week, which were also rejected by Organised Labour.

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The organised labour had presented N615,000 as the new minimum wage but saw reasons to drop their demand to N497,000 last week, and then to N494,000 on Tuesday.

The last meeting of the committee was, however, deadlocked as talks ended without an agreement on what to pay as the new minimum wage.

The labour unions said the current minimum wage of N30,000 could no longer cater to the well-being of an average Nigerian worker, lamenting that not all governors were paying the current wage award, which expired in April 2024, five years after the Minimum Wage Act of 2019 was signed by former President Muhammadu Buhari.

FG’s proposal unsubstantial – Ajaero

NLC President, Joe Ajaero, described as ‘unsubstantial’, the fresh proposals by the government. “It is still not substantial compared to what we need to get a family moving,” the labour leader had said of the current N30,000 wage paid to workers in the country.

“The economy of the workers is totally destroyed. In fact, the workers don’t have any economy. I think there are two economies in the country— the economy of the bourgeoisie and the economy of the workers. I think we have to harmonise this so that we can have a meeting point,” Ajaero had said.

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