Democracy Day: N250,000 minimum wage remains our demand, Labour insists

As Nigeria marks Democracy Day, the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) says its demand for the new National Minimum Wage remains N250,000.

The Acting President of NLC, Mr Adewale Adeyanju, said this in a statement, while reacting to President Bola Tinubu Democracy Day speech on Wednesday, in Abuja.

Recalls that the Federal Government had offered N62, 000 as the new national minimum wage, at the end of the tripartite committee meeting, involving the Organised Private Sector (OPS) .

According to him, the union appreciates the President’s commitment to those fine democratic ideals which allowed the work of the Tripartite National Minimum Wage Negotiation Committee to proceed unhindered despite some hiccups.

“Our demand still remains N250,000 only and we have not been given any compelling reasons to change this position which we consider a great concession by Nigerian workers during the tripartite negotiation process.

“We are, therefore, surprised at the submission of Mr President over a supposed agreement.

“We believe that he may have been misled into believing that there was an agreement with the NLC and TUC.

“There was none and it is important that we let the President, Nigerians and other national stakeholders understand this immediately to avoid a mix up in the ongoing conversation around the national minimum wage,” he said.

Adeyanju also noted that the union had not seen a copy of the document submitted to Mr President and it would not accept any doctored document.

He, however, reaffirmed the union’s belief that the president on whose table the Tripartite Committee’s report presently resides would prepare an Executive Bill which content would reflect the true demand of Nigerian workers.

“We think that this is an opportunity for him to demonstrate his love for Nigerian workers and masses.

“That is by shunning the pieces of advice that may be coming from those whose intentions are continuously focused on hurting the poor and struggling workers of Nigeria.

“Mr President should not allow these individuals and groups to sabotage his promise of lifting Nigerian workers out of poverty,” he said.

According to him, the president’s advisers obviously did not tell him the truth that the leaders of the trade unions were intimidated and harassed.

“It is, therefore, important that Mr President understands that we were threatened severally by his operatives perhaps without his consent.

“Series of media propaganda calculated to intimidate and harass us were, and, are still being waged against the trade unions by senior officials of this government.

“Fully armed soldiers surrounded us while we were in a negotiation with the government,” he alleged.

He added the NLC remained assured that the president’s democratic credentials will come to the fore in favour of Nigerian workers and masses.

He also noted that NLC never agreed on a five-year duration of the minimum wage Act though acknowledged that the president mentioned five years or less.

According to Adeyanju, the union also agreed that inflation should be pegged at a level for certain amount to be agreed as minimum wage. This is to bring clarity to what the report should contain.

“Once again, we reiterate that it will be extremely difficult for Nigerian workers to accept any national minimum wage figure that approximates to a starvation wage.

“We cannot be working and yet remain in abject poverty.

“We seek justice, equity and fairness for all Nigerians and this we hope would also drive the actions of Mr. President who promised a Living Wage to Nigerian workers.

“This is an opportunity to show that he listens to Nigerians as he promised,” he said.

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