NLC , TUC open up no rejection of N60,000 minimum wage by govs 

On Saturday, the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and the Trade Union Congress (TUC) strongly criticized the 36 state governors for their refusal to adopt the proposed N60,000 minimum wage.

The labour leaders condemned the governors’ stance, describing it as an act of insensitivity towards Nigerian workers and urging a reconsideration to avoid potential unrest.

The governors had in a statement by Halimah Salihu Ahmed, Director of Media and Public Affairs of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF), announced on Friday their inability to afford the N60,000 minimum wage proposed by the federal government.

In response, Benson Upah, Head of Information and Public Affairs at NLC, expressed disbelief at the governors’ claim, pointing out the significant increase in the cost of living, including fuel prices and the devaluation of the naira.

“We are shocked by the Nigeria Governors Forum’s assertion that states cannot afford to pay N60,000 as a minimum wage, stating that some would need to borrow monthly to meet this obligation. This statement, issued during ongoing negotiations, demonstrates bad faith and is highly inappropriate,” Upah stated.

The labour unions highlighted that federal allocations to states have increased from N700 billion to N1.2 trillion, which should enable them to meet the proposed wage. They argued that reducing government expenditure, curbing corruption, and prioritizing worker welfare are essential steps the governors must take.

“A national minimum wage sets the lowest legal pay and is intended to protect the most vulnerable workers. The focus should be on the value of wages, not just the figures. The current economic conditions, with the naira trading at N1,600 to the dollar and inflation at 33.7%, have drastically reduced the real value of the minimum wage,” the unions explained.

They criticized government policies such as the removal of fuel subsidies, devaluation of the naira, and hikes in energy tariffs and interest rates, which they said have exacerbated the economic hardship for Nigerians. The unions warned that inadequate wages could lead to severe economic and social consequences, as worker earnings significantly drive state economies.

“Paying a substandard minimum wage endangers both the workforce and the national economy. We urge the governors to reconsider their position to prevent further economic decline and social unrest,” the labour leaders concluded.

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