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Organised Labour Rejects Tinubu’s Claims On Minimum Wage Agreement

Organised Labour has strongly refuted President Bola Tinubu’s assertions that an agreement on a new national minimum wage had been reached, as stated in his Democracy Day address. 

The labour unions emphasised that no consensus was achieved during the last negotiation session held on June 7.

Contrary to the President’s announcement, the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and the government, along with the Organised Private Sector (OPS), had only discussed two separate figures: N250,000 proposed by the labour unions and N62,000 suggested by the government and OPS. 

These figures were expected to be presented to the President for further deliberation.

In a detailed statement, the Acting President of the NLC, Prince Adewale Adeyanju, highlighted that any claims of an agreement were unfounded and unacceptable.

 He stated, “The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) attentively listened to the Democracy Day Presidential address… While the President may have accurately recounted parts of our democratic journey’s history, it is evident that he has been misinformed regarding the outcome of the wage negotiation process.”

Prince Adeyanju clarified that no agreement was reached regarding the minimum wage figure or the five-year duration mentioned by the President. 

“We neither reached any agreement with the federal government and the employers on the base figure for a National Minimum Wage nor on its other components,” he added.

During his speech, President Tinubu expressed a commitment to ongoing economic reforms and a willingness to engage with labour unions in good faith. 

He mentioned, “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.”

The President’s remarks suggested a collaborative approach towards resolving wage disputes, emphasizing cooperation over conflict. 

He noted, “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.”

However, the NLC’s statement expressed disappointment over the perceived misinformation and the treatment of labour leaders during negotiations.

 They claimed that union leaders faced intimidation and harassment from government officials, undermining the integrity of the negotiation process.

“It is important that Mr. President understands that we were threatened severally by his operatives perhaps without his consent,” the statement read.

 “Series of media propaganda calculated to intimidate and harass us were, and, are still being waged against the trade unions by senior officials of this government.”

The NLC reiterated its demand for a N250,000 minimum wage, arguing that anything less would not provide a living wage for Nigerian workers. 

They urged President Tinubu to consider the true demands of the workers in his executive bill.

 “Once again, we reiterate that it will be extremely difficult for Nigerian workers to accept any national minimum wage figure that approximates to a starvation Wage,” stated Adeyanju.

The labour union stressed the importance of achieving a fair and just wage system, which they believe is essential for building a sustainable democracy and ensuring prosperity for all Nigerians. 

“Together, we can build a stronger democratic nation based on equity which guarantees prosperity to the majority of the citizenry and not one where few individuals monopolize our collective resources.”

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