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Nigeria: Confusion as minimum wage negotiation deadlocked again

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The lingering minimum wage crisis between the Nigerian government and organized labour took another dimension as fresh negotiations on Friday hit the brick wall.

The meeting which had members of the Tripartite Committee on New National Minimum Wage set up by government to negotiate on its behalf and labour could not arrive at a compromise as there was disagreement on an agreeable amount.

According to reports, while the government offered N62,000, up from the initial N60,000 it earlier proposed, the labour team brought down its demand to N250,000
from N494,000.

It was also gathered that state governors had declared that they could not even pay the N60,000 minimum wage which had been proposed by the Federal Government before the government later increased it by N2,000, while the Organised Private Sector, (OPS), is said to be on the side of the government.

The Nigeria Governors Forum, (NGF), had in a statement on Friday issued by its Acting Director of Media and Public Affairs, Hajiya Halimah Salihu Ahmed, titled, “The forum’s stand on the: N60,000 minimum wage not sustainable,” said:

“The Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF) agrees that a new minimum wage is due. The Forum also sympathises with labour unions in their push for higher wages.

“However, the Forum urges all parties to consider the fact that the minimum wage negotiations also involve consequential adjustments across all cadres, including pensioners.

“The NGF cautions parties in this important discussion to look beyond just signing a document for the sake of it; any agreement to be signed should be sustainable and realistic.

“All things considered, the NGF holds that the N60,000 minimum wage proposal is not sustainable and can not fly. It will simply mean that many states will spend all their FAAC allocations on just paying salaries with nothing left for development purposes.

“In fact, a few states will end up borrowing to pay workers every month. We do not think this will be in the collective interest of the country, including workers.

“We appeal that all parties involved, especially the labour unions, consider all the socioeconomic variables and settle for an agreement that is sustainable, durable, and fair to all other segments of the society who have a legitimate claim to public resources.”

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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