Strike imminent as It appears that the Federal Government and organized labour are headed for a confrontation over a new minimum wage as the sixth meeting of the Tripartite Committee on the new National Minimum Wage (NNMW) ended in another deadlock.

Senate pleads with labor unions to end the strike
Senate pleads with labor unions to end the strike

For the second time in two weeks, the organized labour team walked out of the meeting after the Federal Government increased its offer to N60,000 from N57,000, which was proposed on May 22.

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Represented by the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and the Trade Union Congress (TUC), labour had previously walked out on May 15 when the government offered N48,000 and the Organized Private Sector (OPS) offered N54,000, far below the N615,000 minimum wage demand by labour.

At last week’s meeting, the government and the private sector increased their offer to N57,000, while labour lowered its demand from N615,000 to N497,000. Yesterday, the government and OPS added another N3,000, bringing their offers to N60,000. Labour responded by reducing its demand by N3,000 to N494,000 before walking out again.

Labour has given the government until May 31 to conclude negotiations to avoid industrial action. Confirming the situation, NLC President Joe Ajaero said: “The government is not serious about the negotiation. They just added N3,000 to their offer from last week without any explanation.”

Regarding the next steps, Ajaero mentioned: “We have an ultimatum on the minimum wage and electricity tariff. We are waiting for the ultimatum to expire. We know what to do if the government doesn’t act.”

A source at the meeting explained: “We walked out again because the government only added N3,000 to their offer. We also reduced our demand by N3,000. The government hasn’t broken down their offer to show how it covers basic needs like food and transportation.”

The source added that the governors were not represented at the meeting and seem to avoid involvement to avoid payment obligations. The OPS spokesperson and Director-General of the Nigeria Employers’ Consultative Association (NECA), Adewale-Smatt Oyerinde, emphasized that their primary concern is job security until the economy improves. He noted that many companies have shut down or relocated, making it difficult to meet the current wage demands.

Oyerinde urged the committee to focus on protecting jobs and supporting the private sector’s capacity to create more jobs, stressing the need for a sustainable approach to wage increases.

The meeting was adjourned for further consultations, with the next date to be set by the committee’s secretariat.