Senate tells Tinubu to continue payment of N35,000 wage award

The Nigerian Senate has called on the Federal Government to continue the payment of the N35,000 wage award to workers, as negotiations on a new minimum wage are yet to be concluded.

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Senate President Godswill Akpabio made this appeal at the end of a four-hour closed-door meeting with the leadership of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and the Trade Union Congress (TUC), as well as some government ministers. Akpabio urged the unions to shelve the proposed strike action in the interest of Nigerians and the nation.

“We have been making appeals and asked the NLC and TUC to shelve the proposed strike and return to the negotiating table to resolve the issue,” Akpabio said. “I appeal that the strike be suspended for negotiations to continue in the interest of Nigerians and the nation.”

The Minister of Information and National Orientation, Mohammed Idris, stated that the government’s position is to continue the N35,000 wage award that began in October 2023 until a new minimum wage regime is instituted.

Idris expressed optimism that the labour unions would suspend the proposed strike, following the lengthy discussions with the National Assembly leadership, organized labour, and the federal government delegation. He emphasized that Nigeria cannot afford a strike at this time given the economic challenges.

“We have pleaded with labour to see reasons with the Federal Government and everybody while the strike cannot continue in the interest of everybody,” Idris said.

However, the President of the Trade Union Congress, Festus Osifo, noted that the union’s leadership does not have the power to call off the strike, as there are processes involved in suspending an industrial action. Osifo said the union’s organs would have to deliberate on the request from the National Assembly leadership.

The meeting was attended by the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, George Akume, and several ministers, including Labour and Employment, Finance, Information and National Orientation, Budget and National Planning, Science and Technology, and Agriculture and Food Security, as well as the Head of Service of the Federation and the President of the NLC, Joe Ajaero.

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