Negotiations over the new minimum wage in Nigeria have hit a roadblock as labour unions, including the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and the Trade Union Congress (TUC), have walked out of talks with the government and the Organised Private Sector. The unions expressed outrage at the Federal Government’s proposal of N48,000 as the national minimum wage, deeming it both insulting and inadequate.

NLC President Joe Ajaero articulated the unions’ frustration, alleging that the government lacked seriousness in engaging with labour. He criticized the government’s inability to provide necessary data for negotiations and requested that if no agreement is reached by the end of the month, labour will take decisive action.

Represented by Deputy President Mr Tommy Okon, the TUC echoed the sentiment of dissatisfaction with the government’s offer. In a joint statement signed by Ajaero and Okon, the unions denounced the proposed N48,000 wage as insufficient to meet the needs and aspirations of Nigerian workers.

Comparing the government’s offer with the prevailing standards in the private sector, where even the lowest-paid workers receive N78,000 per month, the unions highlighted a glaring disparity. They criticized the lack of transparency and good faith in the negotiation process, asserting that the proposed wage would reduce income for federal-level workers already receiving N30,000 as mandated by law.

The NLC and TUC had previously proposed a minimum wage of N615,000, citing Nigeria’s high cost of living. Despite the unions’ demands, negotiations have stalled, prolonging the uncertainty for workers awaiting an upward review of their wages.