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We’re not fixated on a minimum wage figure — NLC

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Last Updated on June 4, 2024 by Fellow Press

The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) says it is not fixated on a figure as negotiations continue with the Federal Government over a new national minimum wage.

Recall that Organised Labour on Monday declared a strike ove a new minimum wage and the recent hike in electricity tariff for Band A customers.

Following the strike action, the federal government and organised labour reached an agreement on a new minimum wage that will be “above N60,000.”

The figure was disclosed by the government late Monday after a meeting with the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and its counterpart, the Trade Union Congress (TUC), at the Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (OSGF).

Speaking during an appearance on Arise TV on Tuesday, Benson Upah, Head of Department of Information NLC, disclosed that Organised Labour is not fixated on a figure but would consider a fair and reasonable figure that can take a family of six home.

His words: “We are not fixated on any figure; our first offer was N615,000, but we climbed down, and we’re now on N494,000. Let me be emphatic; our fixation is with value. If today the government takes the needed decisions to create value around the naira, we’ll be ready to take a figure that is realistic.

“In 1981, the national minimum wage was N125, equivalent to $188. If the government takes the requisite decision to create value around the naira, we’ll be ready to take a figure that is fair and square.”

Speaking further, he stated that President Bola Tinubu, since assuming office, has made decisions that have affected the country’s economy.

“The first is the ill-advised removal of fuel subsidy rather than dealing with the criminal content of the subsidy. The president admitted to the presence and existence of a cabal, and rather than deal with that, he instead chose to deal with Nigerians,” he said.

“The second one is the mindless devaluation of the naira, which took it from N350 to N1900 and it’s now hovering around N1600; the third is the tariff hike; and the fourth is the 26.5 per cent interest rate. When you look at this, it becomes highly toxic for business.”

The NLC spokesperson responded to comments made by Bayo Onanuga, Special Adviser to President Bola Tinubu on Information and Strategy, stating that the union has no political sentiment.

He said, “As we speak now, we’re the only reliable voice that can speak to power at the risk of our lives. We’ve been consistent from pre-independence to the military and democratic eras. This is not the first time we’ve taken on a government. Right from 1999, the presidency of Obasanjo; then Yar’adua; and Jonathan, but Onanuga didn’t see political sentiment.

“I want to assure you that we’ve no political sentiment. Our sentiments in this matter are pure, patriotic, and in the interest of this country,” he added.

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Minimum wage: Archbishop urges compromise

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Last Updated on June 9, 2024 by Fellow Press

Archbishop Joseph Ojo, General Overseer of the Calvary Kingdom Church, Okokomaiko, Lagos State, on Saturday urged labour leaders and the Federal Government to reach a compromise as regards a new minimum wage.

Ojo made the appeal in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos.

The archbishop described wage negotiation as a social contract that should be approached with empathy by parties.

According to him compromise is needed in the matter to save the country from anxiety.

“They should consider the fact that the unemployed are much more than the few that are in government employment.

“The federal, states and local governments only employed some workers.

“Others are in firms owned and operated by individuals that might not be able to pay higher wage.

“The higher they push it, the higher the inability of the unemployed to survive, because firms, which struggle to pay staff, may not talk of hiring new ones,” he said.

The cleric said that lack of employment might result in increase in crimes.

“There are private sector employers, who cannot cope with what the federal or states will offer,” he added.

The cleric said that high wage bill might compel private schools to increase school bills to meet up with overhead costs.

“Some parents will not meet up, and their children would be forced to drop out of school,” he said.

He also advised governments to consider subsisting social-economic variables, such as cost of food items, transport and medical bills, and offer a sustainable minimum wage.

“The parties ought to put all these into consideration to achieve progress in their negotiation,” the cleric said.

NAN reports that the Nigeria Labour Congress and the Trade Union Congress are now demanding N250, 000 as a new minimum wage.

The Federal Government has offered to pay N62,000.

Negotiations are ongoing.

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Over 200 intending pilgrims protest in Ilorin over faulty aircraft

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Last Updated on June 7, 2024 by Fellow Press

No fewer than 200 intending pilgrims from Kwara on Friday protested at llorin international Airport over the inability of an aircraft to transport them to Saudi Arabia.

The pilgrims, officials of the State Pilgrims Welfare Board and the 2024 state Amirul Hajj had boarded the aircraft since Thursday.

The aircraft was, however, said to have developed a technical fault.

Some engineers with the Federal Airport Authority had been making frantic efforts to repair the faulty aircraft since Thursday without success.

Consequently, some of the intending pilgrims staged a protest over the development.

The intending pilgrims, alongside their relations, took the protest to the highway linking the airport with other communities to express their displeasure over the situation.

Some of the protesters were seen singing solidarity songs condemning the situation, especially since they are the tenth and last batch from the state.

Sen. lbrahim Oloriegbe, the state’s 2024 Amirul Hajj, while speaking with NAN, attributed the failure to transport the last batch of the pilgrims to faulty aircraft.

Oloriegbe said the intending pilgrims had boarded the aircraft since Thursday but were unable to be transported following the development.

The Amirul hajj said that they are expecting another aircraft from Medinnah to transport the intending pilgrims and the officials.

He appealed to them to exercise patience, as the National Hajj Commission of Nigeria was on top of the situation.

He said that the board would continue to cater for the feeding of the intending pilgrims pending when they would be transported to the holy land.

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