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Minimum wage: Our 494k demand is not fixated – TUC president

Festus Osifo, the president of the Trade Union Congress has said the N494 thousand minimum wage demand is not a fixed wage, noting that the organised labour went into the negotiation table with its “best case scenario”.

Osifo who featured in an interview on Channels Television on Tuesday said the concerns of the labour is the value of the wages and not necessarily the amount stated.

He added that the organised labour arrived at the minimum wage given the economic conditions of the country, stressing that the President Bola Tinubu’s macroeconomic policies are straining the pockets of Nigerians, resulting in the wage review.

“We are not fixated on what we have proposed. The government knew. But there are principles you use in establishing what the right value should be,” Osifo said.

“When you are going for negotiation, you go with your best case scenario. We have gone with ours; it’s left with the government to come with theirs,” he added.

Many economists as well as other stakeholders have continued to comment on the possibility of the government to afford the minimum wage demand by the labour especially as many states still struggle to pay the N30,000 set since 2019.

The federal government had said the proposed amount would cost it over N9.5 trillion yearly which could consequently cripple the economy.

Kingsley Moghalu, a former deputy governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, said the country’s level of productivity cannot support a N400,000 or N500,000 minimum wage the organised labour is demanding.

The political economist in a statement on his X account on Tuesday recommended a minimum wage of between N75,000 and N100,000 to avoid a heightened inflationary pressure.

The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and the Trade Union Congress (TUC) had embarked on strike grinding all economic activities in the country to a halt on Monday in a move to drive home their demands.

However, due to the federal government emergency intervention, the industrial action was called off on Tuesday for the next five days as negotiations on the new minimum wage continue.

Tinubu directs Edun to prepare new minimum wage template in two days

President Bola Tinubu has directed Wale Edun, the minister of finance to present the cost implications for a new minimum wage within two days.

Tinubu gave the order at a meeting with the government negotiation team led by George Akume, the secretary to government of the federation, at the presidential villa in Abuja.

The organised labour had initially proposed N615,000 as the new minimum wage before reducing it to N497,000 and now N494,000 while the government is working out what it would be able to afford.