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NLC, TUC give Tinubu May 31 deadline to conclude on new minimum wage, reverse electricity tariff or face massive protest

The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and the Trade Union Congress of Nigeria (TUC) have given President Bola Tinubu-led administration until May 31, 2024, to conclude on a new minimum wage for civil servants.

On Monday, after a joint National Executive Council (NEC) meeting in Abuja, both labour unions issued the ultimatum in a resolution jointly signed by NLC president Joe Ajaero and TUC leader Festus Osifo. They threatened to embark on a massive protest if the demand was not met by the deadline date.

According to their joint statement, the emergency joint meeting by both unions was in response to pressing national issues affecting Nigerian workers.

The issues listed included the recent hike in electricity tariff, the ongoing negotiation of a new national minimum wage with the federal government, and the persistent non-compliance with the 2019 National Minimum Wage Act by some state governments in Nigeria.

The unions lamented the government’s failure to comply with the 2019 National Minimum Wage Act in constituting the Tripartite National Minimum Wage Negotiating Committee later than six months before the expiration of the existing one, “adding that the deliberate delays in good faith negotiations have compelled the NLC and TUC to give the government until the last day of May 2024 to complete everything about the New National Minimum Wage fixing process.”

Bemoaning the FG’s unseriousness in ensuring that the new national minimum wage process is concluded accordingly, the unions pointed out that state governors are still refusing to pay the N30,000 national minimum wage as stipulated in the 2019 National Minimum Wage Act.

“The NEC-in-session, therefore, reiterates the ultimatum issued by the NLC and TUC to the federal government, which expires on the last day of this month. It emphasises the non-negotiable nature of the demands put forth by Nigerian workers and urges the government to prioritise the resolution of these issues in the best interest of industrial peace,” it insisted.

The NEC also directed “all state Councils whose state Governments are yet to fully implement the N30,000 (Thirty-thousand Naira) National Minimum Wage and its consequential adjustments to issue immediately a joint two-week ultimatum to the culpable state Governments to avert industrial action.

“In the event that the government fails to meet the demands outlined within the stipulated time frame, the NEC authorises the leadership of the NLC and TUC to take appropriate actions, including but not limited to the mobilisation of workers for peaceful protests and industrial actions, to press home these demands for social justice and workers’ rights.”

The NEC also recalled that the NLC and TUC embarked on a one-day nationwide picketing of all National Electricity Regulatory Commission offices and DISCOs to protest the illegal hike in electricity tariff and demanded its reversal but without the desired result.

Condemning the illegal tariff hike, the NEC said the upward review was taken without considering the economic hardships faced by the masses and the provisions of the Law, is deemed unjust and burdensome.

“The NEC reaffirms its demands for an immediate reversal of the tariff hike and the vexatious apartheid categorisation into Bands to alleviate the suffering of Nigerian workers and citizens and gives the National Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) and the federal government until the last day of May 2024 to meet these demands,” both unions warned.

People’s Gazette

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