Why Labour can't declare strike over minimum wage now - Ajaero


File: NLC President, Joe Ajaero leading protesters

By Ayorinde Oluokun/Abuja

Mr. Joe Ajaero, the President of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) has said organised labour cannot call out its members for strike over the new minimum wage until President Bola Tinubu decides on the proposals submitted to him by the Tripartite Committee.

The tripartite committee presented a proposal of ₦250,000 proposed as the new minimum wage by organised labour and the N62, OOO proposed by the government and the private sector employers to the President on Monday through the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), George Akume.

Speaking in Geneva, Switzerland where he is currently attending the International Labour Conference, Ajaero said the next line of action by organised labour will be determined by the decision of the President on what is on his table.

“The NLC will not have its position forwarded to the President and go ahead to take certain actions. But when the President finally decides on this, the National Executive Council will have a lot to discuss. Whatever direction they give, then we will carry on with it.”

The NLC President also condemned claims by the state governors under the umbrella body of the Nigerian Governors’ Forum that the N62,000 minimum wage proposal by the Federal Government was unsustainable.

Organised Labour under the aegis of Nigeria Labour Congress and Trade Union Congress of Nigeria, TUC had called its members out for an indefinite industrial action on Monday, June 3, 2024 over their demand for new minimum wage.

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This was after negotiations between labour and the the two other members of the tripartite committee – the government and the private sector- broke down over the amount to be set as the new minimum wage.

While Organised Labour insisted on ₦494,000, government and the private sector employers argued that only N60,000 is sustainable as the new minimum wage.

However, Labour called off the strike after the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), George Akume, promised that President President Tinubu was committed to a minimu wage above ₦60,000.

Consequently labour “relaxed” its industrial action on Tuesday, June 4, 2024 for one week to pave way for resumption of negotiations by the tripartite committee.

However, at the end of negotiations on Friday, June 7, 2024, the two sides can still not reach agreement on the minimum wage.

While organised labour reduced its demand to ₦250,000, the government and the organised private sector refused to go beyond ₦62,000.

While President Tinubu is expected to make a decision and send an executive bill to the National Assembly to pass a new minimum wage bill based on the report, the Governors have said they cannot go beyond N60,000.

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