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Labour denies reaching an agreement with FG on minimum wage

The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) has said that organised labour neither reached any agreement with the Federal Government and the employers on the base figure for a National Minimum Wage nor on its other components.

At the last sitting of the Tripartite Committee on Minimum Wage in Abuja, both the government side and representatives of the private sector made a final offer of N62,000, while organised labour represented by NLC and Trade Union Congress (TUC) came down from their earlier demand of N594,000 to N250,000.

NLC said that it hoped the document submitted to the president reflected the correct proceeding during negotiation, adding that Labour will not accept any doctored document.

In a statement signed by the Acting President of NLC, Comrade Adewale Adeyanju, Labour said it expected the president to have harmonized the two proposals and announce a fitting minimum wage for Nigerian workers.

“We attentively listened to the Democracy Day presidential address delivered by His Excellency, Senator Bola Ahmed Tinubu, especially concerning the ongoing National Minimum Wage negotiations. While the president may have accurately recounted parts of our democratic journey’s history, it is evident that he has been misinformed regarding the outcome of the wage negotiation process.

“The NLC would have expected that the advisers of the president would have told him that we neither reached any agreement with the Federal Government and the employers on the base figure for a National Minimum Wage nor on its other components.

“Our demand still remains N250,000 only and we have not been given any compelling reasons to change this position which we consider a great concession by Nigerian workers during the tripartite negotiation process.

“We are therefore surprised at the submission of Mr. President over a supposed agreement,” it said.

NLC said it appreciated the president’s commitment to those fine democratic ideals which allowed the work of the Tripartite National Minimum Wage Negotiation Committee to proceed unhindered despite some hiccups.

“However, we had expected Mr. President to have used this understanding as one of those who was in the vanguard of the struggle with us around the nation to rescue Nigeria from the hands of the military to harmonize the two figures submitted to him by the Tripartite Committee in favour of workers and masses. It would have been a fitting Democracy Day gift.

“We believe that he may have been misled into believing that there was an agreement with the NLC and TUC.

“There was none and it is important that we let the president, Nigerians and other national stakeholders understand this immediately to avoid a mix up in the ongoing conversation around the national minimum wage.

“We have also not seen a copy of the document submitted to him and will not accept any doctored document.

“However, we want to reaffirm our belief that the president, on whose table the Tripartite Committee’s report presently resides, would prepare an Executive Bill which content will reflect the true demand of Nigerian workers.

“We think that this is an opportunity for him to demonstrate his love for Nigerian workers and masses by shunning the pieces of advice that may be coming from those whose intentions are continuously focused on hurting the poor and struggling workers of Nigeria.

“Mr. President should not allow these individuals and groups to sabotage his promise of lifting Nigerian workers out of poverty,” organised labour said.

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