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Tinubu Set for Crucial Meeting with Labour Leaders on Minimum Wage

Tinubu Set for Crucial Meeting with Labour Leaders on Minimum Wage

President Bola Tinubu is scheduled to convene a pivotal meeting with leaders of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and Trade Union Congress (TUC) in Abuja on Thursday, aimed at advancing discussions on a revised minimum wage structure for Nigerian workers.

A senior labour source disclosed to Channels Television that the meeting, to be held at the Aso Villa in the capital city, follows an invitation extended by the President to both labour bodies.

Key on the agenda will be deliberations on the proposed ₦62,000 benchmark put forward jointly by the government and private sector, juxtaposed with the ₦250,000 demand tabled by Organised Labour.

This gathering marks a significant development since President Tinubu’s announcement during his Democracy Day address on June 12, 2024, promising the imminent submission of an executive bill to the National Assembly, seeking legislative endorsement for a new national minimum wage.

Following the Federal Executive Council’s decision on June 25 to defer deliberation on the minimum wage proposal for further stakeholder engagement, efforts have intensified to find common ground on this contentious issue.

At the 141st session of the National Economic Council (NEC), which convened shortly thereafter, President Tinubu and Vice President Kassim Shettima engaged extensively with governors and federal ministers to forge consensus on the wage matter.

The path to revising the minimum wage has been protracted. The Minimum Wage Act of 2019, which pegged the minimum wage at ₦30,000, expired in April 2024, necessitating a reassessment amidst prevailing economic realities.

Earlier this year, President Tinubu established a Tripartite Committee to facilitate negotiations involving Organised Labour, federal and state government representatives, and the Organised Private Sector. However, efforts to reach a mutually acceptable wage threshold faltered, prompting labour to initiate an indefinite industrial action on June 3, 2024.

The ensuing standoff disrupted essential services nationwide, including airports, hospitals, power distribution networks, financial institutions, and legislative complexes.

Labour’s contention centers on the assertion that the current minimum wage is insufficient to meet the basic needs of Nigerian workers, particularly in light of inflationary pressures exacerbated by recent policy shifts such as petrol subsidy removal and forex market reforms.

Following assurances from President Tinubu of his commitment to a wage exceeding ₦60,000, labour temporarily suspended its strike on June 4, 2024, paving the way for renewed negotiations.

Despite subsequent rounds of talks between the TUC, NLC, government representatives, and employers, consensus remains elusive. While labour revised its demand downward from ₦494,000 to ₦250,000, the government adjusted its initial offer marginally upward to ₦62,000.

Both parties have now submitted their respective reports to President Tinubu, who is expected to adjudicate and subsequently present an executive bill to the National Assembly for legislative action and eventual presidential assent.

The outcome of Thursday’s deliberations is poised to shape the trajectory of labour relations and economic policy in Nigeria, underscoring the high stakes and pressing need for equitable resolution in the national interest.



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