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Monday, May 20, 2024

Minimum wage: Labour insists on May 31 deadline as talks resume today.

After several weeks of hiatus, the tripartite committee set up by the Federal Government will finally meet today (Wednesday), May 15, 2024, sources familiar with the matter confirmed the development to our correspondent in Abuja on Monday.

The Labour unions also stood their ground on their proposal of N615,000 minimum wage while insisting on May 31, 2024 deadline.

The development comes after the failure of the Federal Government to present a nationally acceptable minimum wage to Nigerians following the expiration of the old minimum wage on April 18, 2024.

President Bola Tinubu, through the Vice President, Kashim Shettima, on January 30, 2024 inaugurated the 37-member tripartite committee to come up with a new minimum wage.

With its membership cutting across federal, and state governments, the private sector, and organised labour, the panel is to recommend a new national minimum wage for the country.

Shettima, during the committee’s inauguration, urged the members to “speedily” arrive at a resolution and submit their reports early.

“This timely submission is crucial to ensure the emergence of a new minimum wage,” Shettima said.

He also urged collective bargaining in good faith, emphasising contract adherence and encouraging consultations outside the committee.

The 37-man committee is chaired by the former Head of the Civil Service of the Federation, Goni Aji.

In furtherance of the assignment, a zonal public hearing was held simultaneously on March 7, 2024 in Lagos, Kano, Enugu, Akwa Ibom, Adamawa, and Abuja.

The NLC and the TUC, in different states, proposed various figures as a living wage, referencing the current economic crunch and the high costs of living.

In their different proposals on the minimum wage, the NLC asked the South-West states to pay N794,000 as the TUC mentioned N447,000.

At the North-Central zone hearing in Abuja, the workers demanded N709,000 as the new national minimum wage, while in the South-South, N850,000 minimum wage was demanded.

In the North-West, N485,000 was proposed, while the South-East stakeholders demanded N540,000 minimum wage.

The organised labour would later propose N615,000 as a living wage.

Since the March 7 zonal hearing, nothing much has been heard about the committee’s activities.

However, confirming the resumption of negotiations to The PUNCH on Tuesday, three competent sources, who spoke off the record as they were not authorised to speak to the press, said the committee will sit on Wednesday.

One of the sources said, “Yes the minimum wage committee will be meeting on Wednesday.”

According to him, all the zones across the country have submitted their reports.

He said, “Our expectations are clear. We have given the Federal Government till the last day of May for all the processes around national minimum wage to be concluded, if not, we will be forced to take the necessary action to compel them to do the needful.

“So, we expect that as they meet, they will also have an eye to that particular deadline that has been given to them to ensure a speedy conclusion of the process because organised labour has made a demand to the Federal Government, and we have not received any concrete offer from the government.”

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