NLC Demands ₦250,000 Minimum Wage, Rejects Federal Government’s ₦62,000 Proposal

By Milcah Tanimu

The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) has rejected the federal government’s proposal of a ₦62,000 minimum wage, insisting on a minimum of ₦250,000. Chris Onyeka, the NLC’s Assistant General Secretary, made this clear during an interview on Channels Television’s Morning Brief show on Monday.

Onyeka criticized the ₦62,000 proposal as a “starvation wage” and dismissed the suggestion of ₦100,000 from some individuals and economists as equally unacceptable. The NLC remains steadfast in its demand for a more substantial and realistic minimum wage to address the current economic challenges faced by Nigerian workers.

“We have never considered accepting ₦62,000 or any other wage that we know is below what we know can take Nigerian workers home. We will not negotiate a starvation wage. We have never contemplated ₦100,000, let alone ₦62,000. We are still at ₦250,000; that is where we are, and that is what we considered enough concession to the government and the other social partners in this particular situation. We are not just driven by frivolities but the realities of the marketplace; realities of things we buy every day: a bag of rice, yam, garri, and all of that,” Onyeka stated.

The NLC official further disclosed that should the federal government and the National Assembly fail to act on the workers’ demand by Tuesday, June 11, 2024, the organs of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and the Trade Union Congress (TUC) would meet to decide on the resumption of the nationwide industrial action relaxed last Tuesday.

Labour argued that the current ₦30,000 minimum wage is inadequate due to rising inflation and the impacts of recent policy changes, such as the removal of petrol subsidies and the unification of forex windows. They also pointed out that many governors have not been paying the current wage, which expired in April 2024.

President Bola Tinubu set up a tripartite committee in January 2024 to negotiate a new minimum wage. The labour unions’ initial demand was ₦615,000, later reduced to ₦494,000. The government and private sector’s proposals, peaking at ₦60,000, were rejected, leading to the strike.

On June 3, 2024, Secretary to the Government of the Federation, George Akume, announced the President’s commitment to a wage above ₦60,000, prompting Labour to suspend the strike on June 4, 2024, and resume negotiations. The President tasked Finance Minister Wale Edun with creating a new wage template. Despite intense discussions, no consensus was reached by June 7, 2024.

Labour reduced their demand to ₦250,000, while the federal government offered ₦62,000. Both parties have now submitted their proposals to the President, who will decide and forward an executive bill to the National Assembly for legislative approval.


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