Hope Dims For Workers As FG Offers N48,000

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The negotiation between the federal government and the organised labour yesterday reached a deadlock with the unions rejecting an offer of a N48,000 as the new national minimum wage.

In a dramatic turn of events, both the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and Trade Union Congress (TUC) of Nigeria walked out of the tripartite committee meeting in an apparent breakdown of negotiations.

The labour centres expressed their profound disappointment with the government’s proposal, which they consider an insult to the sensibilities of Nigerian workers and a significant shortfall from their needs and aspirations.

At a briefing in Abuja to convey their stand, NLC President Comrade Joe Ajaero and the deputy president of TUC, Comrade Tommy Etim Okon, insisted on a N615,000 minimum wage for workers.

They justified the proposal of a N615,000 national minimum wage with the current economic realities and data, which they said also aligned with President  Bola Tinubu’s pledge to ensure a living wage for Nigerian workers.

Although the Organised Private Sector (OPS) had proposed an initial figure of N54,000; however, according to the unions, the amount is still below the N78,000 minimum wage that the least paid workers in the private sector receive.

According to the labour leaders, this discrepancy has highlighted the unwillingness of both employers and the government to negotiate a fair national minimum wage for workers in Nigeria.

They further stated that the lack of substantiated data from the government to support its offer had only worsened the situation, as it undermines the credibility of the negotiation process and erodes trust between the parties involved.

They insisted that the current federal-level workers’ minimum income, which stands at N77,000— comprising the mandated N30,000 minimum wage, a 40 percent peculiar allowance, and a N35,000 wage award would see a reduction if the government’s proposal was accepted.

This potential decrease in income is deemed unacceptable by the labour representatives.

The labour unions also called on the government to reconsider its position and return to the negotiation table with a more realistic offer that reflects the true value of the contributions made by Nigerian workers to the nation’s development and the socioeconomic realities they face.

They said, “Despite earnest efforts to reach an equitable agreement, the less than reasonable action of the government and the Organised Private Sector (OPS) has led to a breakdown in negotiations.

‘’The government’s proposal of a paltry N48,000 as the Minimum Wage does not only insult the sensibilities of Nigerian workers but also falls significantly short of meeting our needs and aspirations.

“In contrast the Organised Private Sector (OPS) proposed an initial offer of N54,000, though it is worth noting that even the least paid workers in the private sector receive N78,000 per month.

Subsequently, the NLC and TUC walked out of the negotiation process.

They, however, expressed readiness to continue to engage in reasonable dialogue with the government towards a fair and sustainable resolution to the matter.

 

Nigerians Going Through A Lot Of Pain – Bishop Kukah

The Catholic Bishop of Sokoto Diocese, Hassan Mathew Kukah, has said that nearly one year into the President Bola Tinubu administration, Nigerians are writhing in different levels of pain.

He disclosed this to State House correspondents on Wednesday after meeting with President Tinubu at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

According to him, although it was too soon to judge the administration, citizens have found themselves in a difficult situation.

Describing the suffering as unintended, he blamed it on government policies which, he hoped, would be amended for the sake of the people.

He said reviewing such policies is necessary because the essence of government is to guarantee the welfare and security of the people.

However, he highlighted the need for national renewal as he stressed that the government should continue to build on the things that it believes it is doing well, urging citizens to commit themselves to nation building.

The clergyman said: “I’m sure many people will tell you that one year is not enough to make a judgment. However, from where all stand, we know that we are all in a very difficult situation.

“Nigerians are in various levels of pain and they are pains that are unintended. But they are the results of certain policy decisions that hopefully, with time, can be amended in order to serve the welfare of the people.

“I believe that the times that we are in now are very difficult times and nobody should be under any illusion. But they are also times for renewal.

“We just need to commit ourselves to the fact that building a good society takes a lot of time. It’s not something that is done in one lifetime. And for me, the most important thing is to continue on the building blocks of the things that we think are being done well.

“My argument has always been that the government needs to very quickly improve the quality of communication so that Nigerians can at least get a sense of how long it is going to be before food is ready.”

On the political crisis in Rivers State, Bishop Kukah admonished Nigerians not to worry themselves over the rivalry among politicians, saying that they know how to resolve their problems.

Pressed to comment on the crisis, he said: “Well, I don’t live in Rivers State. Look, this is politics and very often we ordinary people cry more than the bereaved.  The important thing, is politicians will fix their problems.

“Rivers State is a place that is very dear to me because I have been associated with them for a very long period of time. But look, when politicians fight, don’t get carried away because they have the capacity to fix their quarrel. And I hope and pray that Rivers State will sooner rather than later reposition because it is not an insignificant part of Nigeria.”

On his mission to the president’s office, he said it was in connection with the planned conference on national cohesion being organised by the Kukah Centre.

 

 

 

 

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