Nigeria Labour Congress and Trade Union Congress Suspend Nationwide Strike for One Week to Facilitate Minimum Wage Negotiations

In a significant development, the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and the Trade Union Congress (TUC) have agreed to suspend their ongoing industrial action for one week. This decision comes amid a lack of consensus on a new minimum wage, with the unions seeking to create a conducive environment for unhindered negotiations.

In a joint communique, the unions expressed their intent to provide a window for productive dialogue. The statement highlighted that the labour bodies withdrew from the negotiation table due to the federal government’s steadfast offer of sixty thousand Naira, which fell short of their expectations during the ongoing minimum wage negotiation meeting.

“Following the successful commencement of the indefinite nationwide strike action initiated by the NLC and TUC on June 3, 2024, the National Executive Councils (NEC) of both organizations convened a joint meeting to deliberate on the recent offer from the Federal Government concerning a higher national minimum wage. The meeting, which lasted several hours, also reviewed the government’s stance on other critical demands, including the reversal of the electricity tariff hike and the cessation of the discriminatory classification of electricity consumers into Bands,” the communique read.

The unions acknowledged the personal commitment from the Nigerian President to offer a higher National Minimum Wage above the 60,000 Naira initially proposed by the Federal Government during a meeting with the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Senator George Akume.

“The NEC-in-session affirms that the federal government has recognized that their offer of 60,000 Naira is insufficient and has shown a commitment to proposing a more acceptable wage for Nigerian workers within one week,” the statement continued.

Given these deliberations, the NEC resolved that there is a greater need to create the right atmosphere for continued negotiation. Consequently, the indefinite nationwide strike action is relaxed for one week starting today to allow the Federal Government to formalize a concrete and acceptable National Minimum Wage, take definitive steps to reverse the electricity tariff hike back to N66/kWh, and abolish the discriminatory classification of electricity consumers into Bands.

Regarding their withdrawal from the wage-setting process, the communique pointed out that the NLC and TUC were dissatisfied with the federal government’s refusal to go beyond the sixty thousand Naira offer, which prompted their withdrawal.

“The NEC-in-Session is deeply disappointed by the government’s silence and lack of concrete action regarding the reversal of the electricity tariff hike and the abolition of the apartheid classification of electricity consumers into Bands. These issues are critical to alleviating the financial burden on Nigerian workers and the general populace. The electricity tariff hike and discriminatory Band classification remain unacceptable and must be addressed alongside the wage increase,” the statement emphasized.

The unions called on all affiliate unions and State Councils to relax the indefinite nationwide strike and return to their respective workplaces immediately. The NEC-in-Session expressed profound gratitude to Nigerian workers and the general public for their unwavering support and solidarity in this critical struggle for improved living and working conditions.

The NLC and TUC reiterated their commitment to pursuing all necessary actions to protect the rights and welfare of all Nigerian people and workers, urging all to await further directives as negotiations continue.

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