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Nigerian Senate lauds Labour for suspending strike, speaks on ‘pressing issues’ about new Minimum Wage

Senate President Godswill Akpabio

*Senate President Godswill Akpabio applauds Labour Unions for suspending their strike, explaining several variables that should determine Nigeria’s new National Minimum Wage, including the capacity of states, local governments, and the private sector to pay, and the possibility of ‘retrenchment of workers’ in the economy

Isola Moses | ConsumerConnect

The Senate, in the National Assembly (NASS), in Abuja, FCT, Tuesday, June 4, 2024, applauded the Organised Labour for suspending its nationwide industrial action over the demand for a new Minimum Wage higher than the current N30,000.

The Labour is demanding a new Minimum Wage that reflects present realities in the Nigerian economy, while the Federal Government has agreed to pay more than N60,000 according to report.

Senate President Godswill Akpabio, who made the commendation on behalf of the Senators, assured the leadership of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and Trade Union Congress of Nigeria (TUC) of NASS readiness to support the passage of a new Minimum Wage bill, once negotiations between the Federal Government and organised labour are concluded.

L-R: Senate President Godswill Akpabio, Joe Ajaero, President of NLC, and Festus Osifo, President of TUC during a meeting with Labour Unions’ Leaders last Sunday, in Abuja

According to Akpabio, the Senate particularly, thanked the Labour Unions for listening to the voice of Nigerians, and the international community by suspending the strike to allow for continued negotiations.

Incidentally, the Senator’s Tuesday, were about to consider a motion on the urgent need to urge the Labour to call off the strike when news broke that the Labour Unions had suspended the industrial action already.

The Senate subsequently stood down the motion moved by Sen. Diket Plang and seconded by Sen. Barau Jibrin.

Matters arising on new Minimum Wage, by Akpabio

The Upper Legislative House, however, explained there are several pending issues that should be resolved in the new minimum wage agitation.

These, Senate President Akpabio said would include possible retrenchment of workers, if the new Minimum Wage figure being negotiated is “too high” for employers to afford in the West African country.

“On our part, we will continue to do our best by making contributions and, at the same time, awaiting the incoming Bill on Minimum Wage for us to enact for the benefit of all Nigerians,” he stated.

The Senate President further cited the case of the current N30,000 Minimum Wage, which some States of the Federation and employers of labour have yet to pay till this day.

Akpabio averred: “Taking this motion will mean that we are jumping the gun, and we are trying to settle the issues for them.

“There are many variables that they will look at. Capacity to pay and the ability of states, local governments, and the private sector to even pay.”

He also noted: “They will also be looking at the fact that if the Minimum Wage is too high, then the possibility of retrenchment of workers will occur.

“I think they will take comparative analysis to know that the last Minimum Wage, which was fixed by this Parliament as an Act of N30,000, was: How many states were able to pay, how many local governments were able to pay, and how many employers were able to pay?”

The Senate President said:

“We’ll be looking at those things because it’s important that a holistic approach be looked at, and I have taken the suggestion that we should not rest until we arrive at an amicable resolution of the issue.

“The National Assembly should also continue to make its own contributions towards the ongoing negotiations.”

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