Unhappy as Nigerian Workers set for Indefinite Strike

…As Tripartite C’ttee Okays N62k Minimum Wage

THE Tripartite Committee constituted by the Federal Government on National Minimum Wage has concluded negotiation with a recommendation of N62,000 as monthly minimum wage for civil servants.

The recommendation was disclosed late Friday night after a marathon meeting of the committee in Abuja.

VAM News reports that while the federal government and the Organised Private Sector (OPS) agreed on the N62,000 offer as the new National Minimum Wage, the Organized Labour has rejected the offer, insisting on N250,000 figure.

The disagreement is likely to force the umbrella bodies of the civil servants in the country – Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and Trade Union Congress (TUC) – to reactivate their relaxed indefinite strike action earlier embarked upon by their members on Monday.

It will be recalled that the Tripartite Committee had earlier offered N60,000 as minimum wage to the workers, a development which made the Organised Labour to withdraw from the negotiation table and declared an indefinite strike action to press home its demands for higher wage and reversal of the electricity tariff hike.

At the end of the first day of the devastating strike action on Monday, the SGF, Senator George Akume, spearheaded a meeting with the Labour unions afterwhich a four-point resolution was reached, including a commitment by President Bola Tinubu to pay a new minimum wage higher than the N60,000 offer.

Thereafter on Tuesday, the President told the Minister of Finance and Coordinating Minister of the Economy, Wale Edun, to work out a realistic national minimum wage template within 48 hours.

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At press time on Friday night, the formal reaction of the Organised Labour on the latest development was being awaited.

Similar report from FEDERAL WORKERS FORUM (FWF)

COMMUNIQUE ISSUED AT THE END OF AN ONLINE MEETING OF FEDERAL WORKERS NATIONWIDE IN NIGERIA ON TUESDAY 18TH JUNE, 2024 BETWEEN 5:00PM AND 7:00PM

Federal workers nationwide shared their experiences about the living conditions confronting them since the removal of subsidy on petrol and the daily surge in the cost of living occasioned by the devaluation of the naira and the inflation that followed. It is the same story of untold hardship everywhere. We are surprise that despite all these challenges government at all levels and the employers of labour are not showing enough empathy to the plight of the Nigerian workers.

We are also surprise in the way the minimum wage matter is being handled. We are equally terribly disappointed that the federal government had stopped the payment of ₦35,000 wage award meant to cushion the effects of the hardship visited on workers since the removal of subsidy on petrol. The situation that prompted the idea of the wage award is still persisting and even with more debilitating effects on the federal government workers more than even when the idea was envisaged.

We are also disturbed that some persons and or group of people are appealing to labour to consider accepting ₦62,000 minimum wage proposal, an amount that cannot sustain a new born baby for a month not to talk of buying a bag of rice. To us this is an act of wickedness. These persons and even Mr President are called upon to put themselves in the position of workers and stop embarrassing the workers with a slave offer.

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The issues of minimum wage is being treated as if workers are not productive and does not deserve a fair wage. The situation is so abusive that a federal minister has come with a threat of mass retrenchment as a condition for a reasonable wage for the workers.

We the federal workers are highly demoralised, we feel dishonoured , disregarded and disrespected. The federal government is not being honest about the payment of a living wage as promised by President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, rather everything has been turned to a game.

Federal government workers already earn above the proposed ₦62,000 minimum wage, how come the FG want to systematically reduce the salaries of workers. Current ₦30,000 minimum wage added to the perculiar allowance of Buhari plus ₦35,000 wage award already put the federal workers’ pay above ₦62,000.

There is definitely no excuse for the poor pay proposal, even neighbouring countries pay far more than the proposed starvation wage that cannot serve as transport allowance.

Our resolutions:

The federal government and President Tinubu should put themselves in the shoes of the federal workers and stop promoting poverty among workers with poor pay.

The federal government should pay up the arrears of wage award for the months of March, April and May within 72 hours else federal government workers nationwide will embark on a continuous mass protest.
₦62,000 minimum wage proposal is no way near a living wage, hence it is totally rejected by the federal work force.

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That we have heard from Mr President concerning the new national minimum wage and that the NLC/TUC has nothing to wait for order than to immediately resume the suspended indefinite national strike.

That on Monday 24th June 2024, if the outstanding three months wage award arrears is not paid, federal workers should commence continuous mass protest in all federal government secretariats across the federation.

There are many more outstanding arrears of payment owed the federal workers by the federal government, all these must be considered including promotion arrears and the recent 25% / 35% pay adjustments for some public sector workers.
We the federal workers are ready for another round of indefinite national strike and protest labour should not hesitate to take action if the federal government continues to remain adamant in paying a living wage.
Federal workers have suffered enough, it is now very difficult for us to cope, we urge the federal government to reason with us.

In solidarity,
Comrade Andrew Emelieze.
National Coordinator (FWF).
Former Chairman Oyo State TUC.
Former Member, TUC National Executive Council

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