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Labour sets May 31 deadline for minimum wage negotiation, threatens nationwide strike

Organised labour demands action from government as workers' unions assert commitment to workers' rights and economic justice

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Organised labour in Nigeria has issued an ultimatum to the Federal Government, setting May 31 as the deadline to conclude minimum wage negotiations or face a nationwide industrial action. The announcement was made during the May Day celebration at the Eagle Square in Abuja, where workers reiterated their demand for a minimum wage of N615,000 and presented an 18-point demand to the government.

President Bola Tinubu pledged to address workers’ welfare concerns, promising a new minimum and living wage to improve conditions for workers across the country. Labour leaders, including President of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) Mr. Joe Ajaero and his Trade Union Congress (TUC) counterpart Festus Osifo, emphasized the urgency of resolving wage negotiations to avert potential unrest.

Highlighting the plight of Nigerian workers amidst the expiration of the previous minimum wage, labour leaders expressed frustration with the delay in concluding discussions. They underscored the need for a two-year lifespan for the new National Minimum Wage Act, with automatic adjustments triggered by inflation exceeding 7.5 per cent, to ensure economic justice for workers.

The labour movement called for vigilance to prevent derailment of negotiations, stressing that anything less than a living wage condemns workers to poverty. They affirmed their commitment to economic justice and urged the government to fulfill its promise of a living wage for every worker in Nigeria.

In addition to wage negotiations, labour leaders addressed pressing issues including energy crisis, insecurity, and corruption. They demanded action on refinery operations, transparency in subsidy expenditure, and accountability in the power sector. Moreover, they called for a reevaluation of security strategies to address escalating violence and insecurity across the nation.

The NLC and TUC emphasized the importance of leadership that prioritizes the welfare and security of the people, urging government accountability and fair treatment of workers. They called for genuine dialogue, respect for democratic freedoms, and impartial investigation of attacks on journalists and communities.

The labour movement’s stance reflects a commitment to workers’ rights and social justice, advocating for systemic reforms to address the pressing challenges facing Nigerian society.

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