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More confusion as Nigerian labour insists on N250,000 as minimum wage, rejects N62,000 offered by govt

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The impasse that has engulfed organised labour in Nigeria and the Federal Government over the minimum wage saga is currently giving all involved sleepless nights as labour has rejected a N62,000 offer by the government, while insisting on its N250,000 proposal, stating it would not negotiate what it described as ‘starvation wage.’

Assistant General Secretary of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Chris Onyeka, while speaking on the minimum wage negotiation on a television programme, on Monday, said:

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

“We have never contemplated ₦100,000 let alone of ₦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 also by the realities of the marketplace—the realities of things we buy every day: bags of rice, yam, garri, and all of that.”

On his part, President of the NLC, Joe Ajaero, in an interview with journalists at the ongoing International Labour Conference taking place in Geneva, Switzerland,
said the unionists were waiting on President Bola Tinubu to consider labour’s offer before deciding on its next line of actions after the Tripartite Committee on National Minimum Wage submitted its report to the Secretary to the Government of the Federation for onward delivery to Tinubu.

Addressing journalists on the situation, Ajaero clarified that the submission of N62,000 as proposed by the government and the organised employers’ body did not translate to labour accepting N62,000 as the new minimum wage.

He further explained that labour could not embark on strike because the President had yet to communicate his decision on the figures presented by the tripartite committee.

“The Tripartite Committee submitted two figures to the President. The government and employers proposed N62,000 while labour proposed N250,000. We are waiting for the decision of the President. Our National Executive Council will deliberate on the new figure when it is out.

“We cannot declare strike now because the figures are with the President. We will wait for the President’s decision.

“During the tenure of the immediate past President (Muhammadu Buhari), the figure that was proposed to him was N27,000 by the tripartite committee but he increased it to N30,000.

“We are hopeful that this President will do the right thing. The President had noted that the difference between N62,000 and N250,000 is a wide gulf.

“The Federal Government and the National Assembly have the call now. It is not our call.

“Our demand is there for 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 one-week notice to look at the issues and that one week expires tomorrow.

“If, after tomorrow, we have not seen any tangible response from the government, the organs of the organised labour will meet to decide what to do next,’’ he warned.

Also speaking on the stance of Nigerian governors saying they cannot even pay the N62,000, the NLC President said:

“How can any governor say he cannot pay? They cannot also be calling for the decentralization of the minimum wage.

“Are their wages decentralised? Governors whose states are not contributing a dime to the national purse and who generate pitiable Internally Generated Revenue are collecting the same amount as governors whose states are generating billions of dollars into the FAAC (Federation Account Allocation Committee). They should decentralise their salaries and emoluments first.

“So, where is the governor of Edo state, Godwin Obaseki, getting his money from? He is paying N70,000 minimum wage. This is the type of governor that should be emulated and not the lazy ones.”

Metro

Expect new national minimum wage soon, Tinubu assures Nigerian workers

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The lingering new National minimum wage saga between the Nigerian government and organised labour may have been put to rest finally as President Bola Tinubu has assured workers that a new wage structure will soon be put in place.

Tinubu, who revealed this in his 2024 Democracy Day broadcast on Wednesday, said that a consensus had been reached on the new minimum wage between the Federal Government and organised labour, adding that an executive bill would soon be sent to the National Assembly to formalise the new minimum wage agreement.

“In this spirit, we have negotiated in good faith and with open arms with organised labour on a new national minimum wage.

“We shall soon send an executive bill to the National Assembly to enshrine what has been agreed upon as part of our law for the next five years or less,” President Tinubu said.

He went on to emphasize that in the cause of the long drawn battle between government and labour, his administration had chosen a democratic approach over dictatorship in addressing the demands of labour unions.

“In the face of labour’s call for a national strike, we did not seek to oppress or crack down on the workers as a dictatorial government would have done. We chose the path of cooperation over conflict.

“No one was arrested or threatened. Instead, the labour leadership was invited to break bread and negotiate toward a good-faith resolution.

“Reasoned discussion and principled compromise are hallmarks of democracy. These themes shall continue to animate my policies and interaction with the constituent parts of our political economy.

“I take on this vital task without fear or favour and I commit myself to this work until we have built a Nigeria where no man is oppressed. In the end, our national greatness will not be achieved by travelling the easy road. It can only be achieved by taking the right one.

“We dare not slumber lest the good things awaiting our immediate future pass us by. We dare not plant our feet in an idle standstill in the middle of the intersection of hope and despair. We know the proper way forward and we shall take it! The initial rays of a brighter tomorrow now appear on the early horizon.

“An abundant future and our capacity to achieve that future lie within our reach. Democracy and the institutions it begets offer to take us to our profound destination.
Let us board this progressive train together. Together, let us move Nigeria forward.

“Let’s continue to keep the fire of democracy burning. Let’s keep the torch lit for generations to come,” he added.

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Metro

Chinsali youth highlights challenges facing freelance journalists in rural Zambia

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Catherine Chansa, a youth from Chinsali District, has highlighted that limited resources were hindering journalists, especially freelancers, from fully utilising media freedoms.

Chansa pointed out that journalists, particularly those in rural areas, struggle to obtain adequate information to support their stories due to resource constraints.

Adding her voice to the debate on media freedom and the Cyber Security Act, Chansa told Zambia Monitor that harassment from those in authority was another significant challenge journalists faced in their line of duty.

“Many times, when a journalist writes a story critical of the government, they are followed, intimidated, and threatened with the closure of their media houses,” she said.

Chansa stated that although media freedom exists in the country, governments tended to exclude journalists and media houses from state functions for being critical or publishing stories that do not align with them.

Additionally, Chansa noted that limited resources and harassment from government officials had led the mainstream media to neglect coverage of marginalised groups, particularly in remote areas.

“The mainstream media does not effectively cover far-flung areas but concentrates on urban centers where information is more easily accessible, often due to better road infrastructure, which is not the case in rural areas,” she said.

Regarding laws regulating the activities of journalists, Chansa expressed the view that existing laws were insufficient to protect them and that the government should continuously refine or develop laws to ensure full protection for journalists.

This story is sponsored content from Zambia Monitor’s Project Aliyense.

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