Nigeria: Unions fight to raise minimum wage

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Nigeria’s labor and trade union are demanding a monthly minimum wage of $120 because prices of commodities have risen abruptly in the country. The asking price is triple what the minimum wage currently is, but the unions threaten to strike otherwise.

Reports say the Nigeria Labor Congress (NLC) and the Trade Union Congress (TUC) had initially demanded a $346 minimum wage per Nigerian worker but after negotiations with the government, the union later accepted $120.

The current national minimum wage is about $50, and has been so for the last ten years. And many Nigerians have indicated that the cost of living has left many of them distressed.

Experts have also said increases in food and transportation costs in recent years have resulted in inflation and despite an emergency meeting with President Jonathan, union authorities say they will strike if the wages are not raised.

However, the office of President Goodluck Jonathan’s issued a statement saying it was committed to “realistic wages” for all workers.

“We have heard the message of Mr President. We are going to go back to our organ [executive council]. The only thing we can say to you is that the strike is on until it is called off by the organ,” NLC acting president Promise Adewusi told reporters after the talks with President Jonathan.

A decision to strike for three days as initially planned or call off the action early will be reached later today, reports claim.

Last week, the NLC directed all workers in the country to go on a three-day warning pay strike from Wednesday to protest the non-payment of an agreed minimum wage increase for workers.

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