Labour Party (1)

N494,000 minimum wage not achievable, strike’ll only plunge Nigeria into more hardship – LP

Organised labour has been advised to re-negotiate with the government on a new minimum wage rather than embarking on industrial action, which will further plunge the country into more hardship.

The Labour Party, through its National Publicity Secretary, Obiora Ifoh, disclosed this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria on Monday in Lagos State.

Ifoh said the strike was not an option, noting that it would cause more hardship and suffering.

He stated, “Our immediate reaction is that organised labour should not throw Nigerians into more hardship.

“Nigerians are already grappling with a lot of challenges, and we do not need to exacerbate the situation. I think the demand for N494,000 minimum wage is unrealistic. It is really unrealistic.

“It is a figure that cannot be sustained because it will imply that Nigeria will take all that money it has to pay the civil servants.”

Ifoh added that the labour union should continue to engage the Federal Government on a figure that would be acceptable to both parties.

Ifoh, while reacting to the declared nationwide strike by organised labour over its demand for a new minimum wage, said that the party is against actions that could further cause hardship.

He said, “Negotiation should continue until they get something better. Asking Nigerian workers to stay at home will affect everything, including the cost of living, and Nigerians cannot afford that now.

“Negotiation is not a one-off thing. If the Federal Government is not willing to go above the N60,000 minimum wage, I think that Organised Labour should work with what is available while it continues to negotiate.

“We know this government has not gotten it right. It is still trying to test the waters,” he added.

It would be recalled that despite earlier pleas by the Federal Government for consideration, the organised labour on Monday commenced an indefinite strike to push for a new national minimum wage for workers, following a series of unsuccessful negotiations involving the Nigeria Labour Congress, the Trade Union Congress of Nigeria, and the government’s representatives.

Meanwhile, the representatives of labour, on May 28, walked out of the Tripartite Committee meeting on minimum wage after the government increased its offer from N57,000 to N60,000.

Recall that the government and the Organised Private Sector had initially proposed ₦48,000, then ₦54,000 and N57,000, all rejected by labour.

Organised labour had also proposed ₦615,000 as a new minimum wage, but later came down to ₦497,000 and then to ₦494,000 to reflect the rising cost of living.

NAN

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