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Members of the Tripartite Committee attend a meeting convened by the Minister of State, Labour And Employment, Nkeiruka Onyejeocha, on June 4, 2024 in Abuja, Nigeria. (Photo courtesy: Nkeiruka C. Onyejeocha)

Nigeria’s Minimum pay talks end without consensus

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Days of intensive negotiations between labour unions and the Nigerian government failed to yield a consensus in the minimum pay row that threatened to spark an indefinite strike earlier this week.

Final deliberations held on Friday, June 7, culminated in the Federal Government and the organised private sector increasing their offer from the disputed ₦60,000 to ₦62,000. The organized labour however tabled a proposal of ₦250,000 which was a significant drop from the initial demand for ₦494,000.

The recommendations by both sides will now be forwarded to President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, who with then scrutinize them and make a decision before sending an executive bill to the National Assembly for legislative action.

“Following a thorough examination of the proposals, considering both affordability and sustainability, the committee came up with recommendations for a new minimum wage. These recommendations by both the government, the organised private sector and the organized labour will be transmitted to President Bola Ahmed Tinubu for consideration,” the Minister of State, Labour And Employment, Nkeiruka Onyejeocha, said via her social media platforms after the conclusion of the talks.

The Tinubu-led administration inaugurated the 37-member tripartite committee on January 30 to recommend a new minimum wage amid threats by labour unions to declare indefinite industrial action.

Meetings held in May saw the labour unions tables demand for the minimum wage to be raised to ₦615,000, with a May 31 deadline.

With a stalemate, the deadline passed and the labour unions called for a nationwide strike from June 3. Workers across the most populous African nation heeded the unions’ directive and embarked on the industrial action, shutting down businesses and affecting multiple sectors.

In response, the government called for a return to the negotiating table, which saw the labour unions set a ₦494,000 minimum pay demand. Talks saw the figure again slashed to ₦250,000.

Meanwhile, governors of Nigerian states remain opposed to an increase in the minimum pay, arguing that the country’s economy is not able to sustain any pay rises.

($1 = ₦1471.22)

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