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Labour vows to reject ₦100k minimum wage, may resume nationwide strike Tuesday

The NLC described the government's N62,000 offer as a “starvation wage.”

NLC President, Joe Ajaero addressing workers on Wednesday, May 1 at the Eagle Square, Abuja. [Facebook]

Chris Onyeka, the Assistant General Secretary of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) said this on Monday, June 10, 2024, while speaking during an interview on Channels Television.

Onyeka, who described the government’s proposal as a “starvation wage”, said the labour union won’t accept the ₦62,000 offer, adding that their demand for a living wage remains ₦250,000.

Our position is very clear. We have never considered accepting ₦62,000 or any other wage that we know is below what we know can take Nigerian workers home. We will not negotiate a starvation wage.

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“We have never contemplated ₦100,000, let alone ₦62,000. We are still at ₦250,000, that is where we are, and that is what we considered enough concession to the government and the other social partners in this particular situation. We are not just driven by frivolities but the realities of the marketplace, realities of things we buy every day: a bag of rice, yam, garri, and all of that.”

Onyeka said the one-week grace period the organised labour gave the government to review its proposal would expire by midnight on Tuesday, June 11, 2024.

He disclosed that the labour unions would meet to decide on the relaxed nationwide strike if the government and the National Assembly fail to act on the unions' demands by Tuesday, June 11, 2024.

“The Federal Government and the National Assembly have the call now. It is not our call. Our demand is there for them (the government) to look at and send an Executive Bill to the National Assembly, and for the National Assembly to look at what we have demanded, the various facts of the law, and then come up with a National Minimum Act that meets our demands.

“If that does not meet our demand, we have given the Federal Government a one-week notice to look at the issues, and that one week expires tomorrow (Tuesday). If after tomorrow, we have not seen any tangible response from the government, the organs of the organised labour will meet to decide on what next,” he said.

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He said if the government insists on its ₦62,000 offer, the organised labour will have no choice but to resume its relaxed nationwide strike.

“It was clear what we said. We said we are relaxing a nationwide indefinite strike. It’s like putting a pause on it. So, if you put a pause on something and that organs that govern us as trade unions decide that we should remove that pause, it means that we go back to what was in existence before,” he said.

Following the suspension of the nationwide strike last week after the government promised to increase the minimum wage above ₦60,000, Festus Osifo, the president of the TUC said the unions won't accept any insubstantial amount added to the initial offer.

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