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Minimum Wage: ₦‎250,000 demand not sacrosanct – TUC

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Last Updated on June 15, 2024 by Fellow Press

Trade Union Congress (TUC) President Festus Osifo said yesterday that there was nothing sacrosanct about the N250,000, adding that labour was receptive to adjustments.

There was no immediate response from the federal government last night on the latest stance of organised labour, although the Senate yesterday pledged to grant accelerated consideration and passage of the new minimum wage bill from President Bola Tinubu.

Only last Wednesday, the acting President, Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Prince Adewale Adeyanju, said labour’s demand “remains N250,000, and we have not been given any compelling reasons to change this position, which we consider a great concession by Nigerian workers during the tripartite negotiation process.”

Adeyanju was responding to the Democracy Day broadcast of President Bola Tinubu in which he said an agreement had been reached on the new national minimum wage.

Osifo himself in his first reaction to the FG and OPS agreement on N62,000 as minimum wage penultimate Friday had said “for us (labour), we felt that with the current economic hardship and the difficulty in the land, the sum of N250,000 should be what will be okay as the minimum wage.

But speaking yesterday on Channels Television’s breakfast programme, The Morning Brief, he said there was “no figure that is sacrosanct; there is no figure that is cast in stone that both parties will be fixated on it.”

He added: “What we said is that for us, when we give figures, there is always a room to meander; there is always a room for us to do some adjustment here and there.

“One of the reasons that we went on industrial action the last time was because when it got to N60,000, they told us that a kobo could not even join the N60,000; that they could not even add one naira to it.

“So that was one of the reasons that led to that industrial action beyond the fact that there were also delays.”

President Tinubu is expected to send an executive bill to the National Assembly on the new minimum wage for legislative action.

The TUC President said that they are not going to pre-empt the President, but they are making all efforts to justify why Tinubu should tilt towards the figure presented by the labour instead of the one by the organised private sector and the government.

He said that if the President sends a figure that is not favourable to the labour to the National Assembly, they will still approach the lawmakers and push them to do much more.

Osifo vowed that the work of the labour leaders will not end until the Minimum Wage Act 2024 becomes law. He said it is premature to predict what labour will do if what is passed is not acceptable to them at the end of the day.

The FG and the Organised Private Sector (OPS) had on Friday, May 31 reached an agreement to pay N62,000 to their least paid worker; an increase of N2,000 on the N60,000 rejected two weeks ago by labour.

The 36 states, which were represented on the Tripartite Committee on the minimum wage, said on the same day that they could not afford to pay even N60,000 while the NLC and the TUC disagreed with government and the OPS.

They said the minimum they would accept was N250,000, which is N244,000 less than the N494,000 they initially demanded.

The Tripartite Committee has already submitted its report and recommendation to the President, who is expected to take a decision on the final figure to be sent by way of an Executive Bill to the National Assembly for consideration.

The TUC President said while labour was not disposed to pre-empting the President on his decision, the unions were keen on ensuring that Tinubu tilts toward the figure presented by labour instead of the N62,000 by government and OPS.

He said should the President decide on a figure labour finds unfavourable, it will take its struggle to the lawmakers to convince them for an increase.

He said it was premature to predict labour’s reaction if the action of the executive and the legislature turns out to be unfavourable.

Tinubu, at a state dinner to mark Democracy Day on Wednesday had declared that his planned minimum wage is “what Nigerians can afford, what you can afford and what I can afford.”

He added: “Cut your coat according to your size, if you have size at all.”

Apart from the state governments which have expressed their inability to pay even the N60,000 which labour had rejected prior to the June 3 and 4 strike, signals from the local governments also suggest that they cannot pay N62,000.

National President of the Association of Local Government of Nigeria (ALGON), Aminu Muazu-Maifata, said on Thursday that the LGs could not pay that amount.

Muazu-Maifata said some local governments have not even been paying their workers the ₦30,000 approved as minimum wage in 2019.

He said an affordable minimum wage should be set and not something unsustainable.

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Minimum Wage: Let’s cut our coat according to our clothes, Tinubu tells labour

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Last Updated on July 12, 2024 by Fellow Press

President Bola Tinubu says a new minimum wage will be fixed after reviewing the “structure” of the wage bill.

Tinubu spoke on Thursday while addressing the leadership of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and Trade Union Congress (TUC) during a meeting at the State House, Abuja.

Tinubu told the labour leaders that his administration prioritises the welfare of workers, adding that “society depends on the productivity of happy workers”.

“You have to cut your coat according to the available cloth. Before we can finalise the minimum wage process, we have to look at the structure,” Ajuri Ngelale, presidential spokesperson, quoted Tinubu as saying in a statement.

“Why must we adjust wages every five years? Why not two? Why not three years? What is a problem today can be eased up tomorrow.

“There is much dynamism to this process if we are not myopic in our approaches.

“We can take a surgical approach that is based on pragmatism and a deep understanding of all factors.”

On his part, Joe Ajaero, NLC president, said things are difficult for Nigerian workers, adding that there must be a balance between the living wage and the minimum wage.

Festus Osifo, TUC president, said the rising inflation in the country has eroded the value of the naira.

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Tinubu appoints Jega on Livestock Reform committee

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Last Updated on July 10, 2024 by Fellow Press

President Bola Tinubu has offered a fresh appointment to former Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Professor Attahiru Jega.

The appointment was announced when Tinubu inaugurated the Presidential Committee on Implementation of Livestock Reforms at the presidential villa in Abuja, on Tuesday/

He named Jega as co-Chairman of the Committee established to address obstacles to agricultural productivity and open up new opportunities which benefit farmers, herders, processors, and distributors in the livestock-farming value chain.

President Tinubu emphasized that the implementation of the reforms will require the collective efforts of members of the committee, drawn from the public and private sectors, state governors, and all Nigerians.

“From here, I will appeal to everyone to remove every iota of partisan politics from this. I will assume the chairmanship of the committee as President and appoint Professor Attahiru Jega as my deputy or co-chair.

“This is not about politics; this is about opportunity. This is about our nation. While I may be absent, Jega will preside and continue to promote our objectives,’’ the President said.

Inaugurating the committee in the Council Chamber at the State House, the President thanked the National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Dr. Abdullahi Ganduje for his efforts in assembling experienced and reputable experts to ensure the activation of opportunities in the livestock sector.

“When we have great opportunities in our states, why should Nigerians continue to experience conflicts?

“With the calibre of people that are here, this presents a unique opportunity also to delineate and establish a centric ministry called the Ministry of Livestock Development. It will give us the opportunity so that our veterinary doctors can have the necessary access to research and cross-breed. We can stop the wanton killings,’’ President Tinubu stated.

The President noted that the traditional method of livestock farming will need to be reviewed and repositioned with the support of stakeholders, which include state governments, in order to open up new opportunities for growth and prosperity.

President Tinubu said the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr. Lateef Fagbemi (SAN), will ensure the removal of all legal obstacles to the implementation of the reforms, while the Minister of Communication, Innovation and Digital Economy, Dr. Bosun Tijani will provide support with automation.

“Modern technology is available to us. We are ready to work. I said at the beginning, with you, all of you, the solution is here, and we must run with it. Any law that might inhibit the promotion and actualization of our objectives, the Attorney-General is here, please give it a priority; and the Minister of Budget and Economic Planning is here; create a budget for it to grow, and the Minister of Finance is here as well to work out the money,’’ the President stated.

The President also said the reforms will be comprehensive and collective, urging the support of all stakeholders.

“We need to provide the incentive to enable Nigeria to finally take advantage of livestock farming; dairy products and cold-chain logistics collectively offer substantial commercial and economic advantages. We have seen solutions and opportunities. With these adversities that have plagued us over the years, I believe that prosperity is here – in your hands.”

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