Nigerian unions, government agree minimum wage to avert strike
(Adds Buhari's comment, background)
By Camillus Eboh
ABUJA, Nov 6 (Reuters) - Nigerian trade unions and the
government agreed a minimum wage proposal to avert a nationwide
strike that was to have shut down Africa's biggest economy on
Tuesday, a union official said.
Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) General Secretary Peter
Ozo-Eson said a committee set up with the government was
recommending 30,000 naira ($98) as the new monthly minimum wage,
up from 18,000 naira.
He said the proposal, negotiated by senior government
officials including Labour Minister Chris Ngige, would be
recommended to President Muhammadu Buhari on Tuesday and the
strike had been suspended.
"We all need to stand ready in a state of full mobilization
in case future action becomes necessary to push for the timely
enactment and implementation of the new minimum wage," Ozo-Eson
Buhari said the government would review the proposal. "Our
plan is to transmit the executive bill to the National Assembly
for passage within the shortest possible time," he said in a
The main unions launched a strike in September after wage
talks broke down. Unions initially wanted the monthly minimum
wage raised to about 50,000 naira, but the government, facing
dwindling revenues due to lower oil prices, declined.
The strike was suspended on the fourth day, with unions
saying the government had agreed to talks.
The government has argued that many of Nigeria's 36 states
struggle to meet existing salaries. Unions say the last wage
review was seven years ago.
Economists say the new minimum wage risks stoking inflation,
currently above the central bank's single digit target, creating
a new headache for the bank as it defends the currency
hit by lower oil prices.
Buhari plans to stand for a second term in an election in
February when his economic record will come under scrutiny,
given pledges to raise living standards, tackle corruption and
(Additional reporting by Felix Onuah
Writing by Chijioke Ohuocha; Editing by Janet Lawrence
First Published: 2018-11-06 04:48:29
Updated 2018-11-06 20:16:05
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