Organized Labor Condemns Governors’ Refusal to Pay N60,000 Minimum Wage

On Saturday, the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and the Trade Union Congress (TUC) strongly criticized the 36 state governors for claiming they cannot afford to pay the proposed N60,000 minimum wage.

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The labor leaders described the governors’ comments and actions towards Nigerian workers as “an act of wickedness” and called on them to reconsider their position before “the impending danger explodes.”

 

The governors, through the Director of Media and Public Affairs of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF), Hajiya Halimah Salihu Ahmed, had disclosed on Friday that they cannot afford the N60,000 minimum wage proposed by the federal government.

 

In response, the NLC, through the Head of Information and Public Affairs at its headquarters, Benson Upah, questioned why the governors seemed to have forgotten that the prices of fuel, the US dollar against the naira, and other essential factors have risen astronomically.

 

The labor unions argued that the governors’ claim is untrue, stating that the Federation Account Allocation Committee (FAAC) allocations have increased from N700 billion to N1.2 trillion, making the governments “extremely rich at the expense of the people.”

 

The labor leaders suggested that the governors need to cut the high cost of governance, minimize corruption, and prioritize the welfare of workers to be able to pay a reasonable national minimum wage, even if not the proposed N60,000.

 

They emphasized that the national minimum wage is not the same as the different pay structures of different states, but rather the lowest floor below which no employer is allowed to pay, with the aim of protecting the weak and the poor.

 

The labor unions argued that the current minimum wage of N30,000, which was set in 2019 when the exchange rate was N300 to $1 and the inflation rate was 11.40%, is now worth only $37.5 for a family of six due to the removal of fuel subsidy, devaluation of the naira, and other economic factors.

 

The article concludes with the labor leaders urging the governors to reconsider their position and save the country from the “certain death” that would result from paying a “miserable national minimum wage.”

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