The Presidency Dismisses Labor’s Wage Demands as Unrealistic

The Presidency has rejected the labour unions’ demands for a new minimum wage of N497,000, calling it unrealistic. According to the President’s Special Adviser on Information and Strategy, Bayo Onanuga, the government’s priority in the minimum wage negotiations should be the availability of resources to pay whatever is agreed upon.

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Onanuga noted that the federal and state governments already have a bloated civil service that is essentially being kept as a social service, as the government lacks other jobs for these workers. He stated that the current federal civil service alone has around 50,000 employees, excluding security forces and other agencies, and questioned how the government would be able to pay these workers N615,000, the initial demand by labor.

The adviser argued that the labor unions themselves do not pay their own lowest-paid workers such high salaries, indicating the unrealistic nature of their demands. He suggested that labor should instead focus on ways to improve the standard of living, such as making housing, transportation, and food more affordable, rather than pushing for a high minimum wage that the government may not be able to sustain.

Onanuga warned that some states have already struggled to pay the current minimum wage of N30,000, and therefore may not have the financial capacity to implement a significantly higher minimum wage. He emphasized the need for labor to be more realistic in their demands to ensure that any new minimum wage can be feasibly implemented across all levels of government.

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