ULC Press Release: This Unilateral N27,000 National Minimum Wage is Unacceptable

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The emerging news of the unfortunate decision of the federal government through the National Council of State to unilaterally propose N27,000 as the new National Minimum Wage is shocking and goes against the grain of all known traditions and practices of Industrial Relations especially as it concerns National Minimum Wage setting framework..

ULC rising from its just concluded Central Working Committee (CWC) meeting today in Lagos rejects in its entirety the proposed N27,000 which is contrary to the N30,000 agreed by the National Minimum Wage Tripartite Committee and which has since been submitted to the President.

We state that the National Council of State in a National Minimum Wage setting mechanism is an aberration. It is also important that we make it clear that the National Council of State does not have powers to approve, confirm, affirm or accept any figure as the new National Minimum Wage. What they have pretended to have done is therefore without any force of Law, standards or other known practices of Industrial Relations the world over.

It is a mockery of the essence and principle behind the setting of a National Minimum Wage to attempt to segregate it between Federal Workers and State Workers. We want to state that workers are workers everywhere whether at the Federal Level or at the State Level. They all have the same challenges; go to the same market, same schools and much more they suffer the same fate. You cannot therefore pay them differently.

Government’s attempt at this dichotomy is an effort at segregation and apartheid in nature. It is an attempt to put a sword within the trade union movement and to further the marginalization of Private sector workers in Nigeria thus seek to weaken the trade union movement in the country.

ULC saw this coming earlier in January and that was why we distanced ourselves. We will however in the next few days in consultation with other Labour Centres if they are still in the struggle for a just national minimum wage take steps to ensure that the interests of Nigerian workers as it concerns the National Minimum Wage are protected.

We urge the President to disregard the pronouncement of the National Council of State as it ridicules the statutes and principles governing the nation. The only honourable path he should tread is to transmit the N30,000 figure as agreed by the Tripartite Committee and even the President on the day of submission of the Committee’s report. We will not accept the use of any cover of state to jettison the collective will of Nigerian workers and the trade union movement.

Once again, we remind the President that he promised Nigerian workers that he was going to transmit the N30,000 as agreed by the Tripartite Committee to the National Assembly for passage into Law. He should not allow himself to be seen as a President who does not keep to his words. We hold him to that agreement and there is no other thing that would be acceptable to Nigerian workers except the N30,000 arrived at through the Tripartite process.

Combrade Joe Ajaero


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