Why we rejected FG’s ₦60,000 offer — TUC

In an exclusive interview with Channels TV, TUC President Festus Osifo sheds light on organised labour’s decision to decline the Federal Government’s latest ₦60,000 minimum wage offer.

Osifo articulates the meticulous approach taken by labour representatives during negotiations, emphasising the need for transparency and a detailed breakdown of living expenses embedded within the proposed wage.

“The division of labour has been very clear. The government came to the negotiation table. If you remember the last time, it was fifty-seven thousand naira, so they moved to sixty thousand naira.

“When they moved to 60 thousand naira, the first thing we asked was, ‘Please, can you tell us how you want a Nigerian to survive on this? Let’s assume this person is working in central area and lives in Lugbe or Maraba.

“Can you kindly give us the breakdown? What is the cost of transportation that is embedded in this sixty thousand naira? What is the cost of feeding? Give us the breakdown’ but they did not,” Osifo explained.

Drawing attention to the stark contrast between the proposed wage and the actual cost of living, Osifo pointed out, “So our problem is not actually the volume of money. You will hear 60 thousand naira and think this is a huge amount of money, but the question is, what is the value of this money?

“Our currency has eroded over time, and the purchasing power of our naira has greatly reduced, so fifty thousand naira today cannot buy for us what eighteen thousand naira could buy for us in 2011 or what thirty thousand naira could buy for us in 2019, so that is the essence of discussing the minimum wage.”

Despite the Federal Government’s revised offer, Organised Labour remains steadfast in its stance, citing the imperative to not only meet but exceed previous standards of living.

Osifo asserts, “So for us, we’re rejecting it. We are not there yet.”

As labour representatives persist in advocating for a wage that truly addresses the needs of Nigerian workers, Osifo maintains, “If the government sits up and tightens all loose ends, if they do what other governments in different parts of the world are doing, we believe they can offer Nigeria a minimum wage just as it is demonstrated today in Angola and several countries in Africa.”

It is worth noting that NLC President Joe Ajaero had also described as “unsubstantial”, the fresh proposals by the government.

“It is still not substantial compared to what we need to make a family move,” the labour leader had said of the current ₦30,000 wage paid to workers in the country.

“The economy of the workers is totally destroyed. In fact, the workers don’t have any economy. I think there are two economies in the country; the economy of the bourgeoisie and the economy of the workers.

“I think we have to harmonise this so that we can have a meeting point,” Ajaero had said.





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