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Accept sustainable minimum wage, FG urges labour

MINISTER of Information and National Orientation, Mohammed Idris, has urged organised labour in Nigeria to accept a sustainable minimum wage proposed by the federal government. 

Idris said this while speaking at the opening of the 2024 Synod of the Charismatic Bishops Conference of Nigeria in Abuja on Wednesday, June 12.

He urged the labour unions, comprising the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), the Trade Union Congress (TUC) and affiliated institutions, to consider the possibility of mass retrenchment of workers which might  result from the minimum wage currently being advocated.

“As I have repeatedly said, the federal government is not opposed to the increase of wages for Nigerian workers but we keep on advocating for a realistic and sustainable wage system for the workers – a wage system that will not undermine the economy, lead to mass retrenchment of workers and jeopardise the welfare of about 200 million Nigerians.

“We want the labour unions to understand that the relief that Nigerians are expecting, and that they fully deserve, will not come only in the form of an increase in wages. It will also come as efforts to reduce the cost of living and to ensure that more money stays in the pockets of Nigerians,” he was quoted as saying.

Emphasising the influence of clerics on the population, the minister urged religious leaders to support the government and communicate efforts being made to the people.

“As a government, we need your support, your advice, and your feedback. Very importantly, we need you to be aware of the efforts being made and the challenges being faced so that you can help us communicate these to your congregations and the general public,” he said.

Labour unions in Nigeria have demanded an increase in workers’ minimum wage across the country, citing economic hardships.

While organised labour initially demanded N615,000, the Nigerian government offered N46,000 at first before increasing it to N60,000 which the workers rejected.

After both parties failed to reach a consensus during negotiations, labour declared an indefinite strike on Monday, June 3, during which the nation’s power grid was cut off and the country was thrown into darkness.




     

     

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    Schools, airports, train stations, among others were also shut down.

    The strike was suspended on the second day after a meeting between both parties.

    The government later increased its offer to N62,000.

    However, there has been no official agreement as this offer has again been rejected by the workers who are now demanding N250,000.

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    Ijeoma Opara is a journalist with The ICIR. Reach her via [email protected] or @ije_le on Twitter.

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