May Day: Labour Rejects 35% Pay Rise, Demands Living Wage


PlThe Nigerian Labour Congress  (NLC), has rejected the 35 percent pay rise for civil servants announced by the federal government on the eve of May Day 2024, insisting that what it was is living wage not pay rise.

May Day, or Labour Day, is celebrated worldwide to recognise and honour the achievements and contributions of the working class.

In a bid to preempt whatever demands workers may put forward on May Day,  the federal government on April 30, approved a pay rise of between 25 and 35 per cent for civil servants across various consolidated salary structures.

The announcement came ahead of the submission of the report of the 37-member tripartite committee on national minimum wage, led by Bukar Goni Aji, a former Head of Civil Service of the Federation (HoCS), which was inaugurated in January this year.

A statement signed by the Head of Press, National Salaries, Incomes, and Wages Commission (NSIWC), Emmanuel Njoku, said the increases took effect from January 1, 2024.

But the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) said the announcement was “a waste of time.”

NLC Assistant General Secretary, Chris Onyeka, said the commission does not have powers to fix national minimum wage.


“What they pretend to have done is a waste of time. It does not amount to anything for us and those in the federal civil service,” Onyeka said.

Njoku’s statement said that the augmentation applies to the six remaining consolidated salary structures, namely the Consolidated Public Service Salary Structure (CONPSS), Consolidated Research and Allied Institutions Salary Structure (CONRAISS), Consolidated Police Salary Structure (CONPOSS), Consolidated Paramilitary Salary Structure (CONPASS), Consolidated Intelligence Community Salary Structure (CONICCS), and Consolidated Armed Forces Salary Structure (CONAFSS).

It added that the federal government had also approved pension increases ranging from 20 percent to 28 percent for pensioners enrolled in the Defined Benefits Scheme within the aforementioned consolidated salary structures, with the same effective date.

Before the latest development, salary increases were implemented for tertiary education and health, among them the Consolidated University Academic Salary Structure (CONUASS), Consolidated Tertiary Institutions Salary Structure (CONTISS), Consolidated Polytechnics and Colleges of Education Academic Staff Salary Structure (CONPCASS), Consolidated Tertiary Educational Institutions Salary Structure (CONTEDISS), Consolidated Medical Salary Structure (CONMESS), and Consolidated Health Sector Salary Structure (CONHESS).

Earlier, at a pre-May Day briefing, the President of TUC, Festus Osifo, had said that the much-awaited new minimum wage might not be announced today (May 1).

“The negotiation by the Tripartite Committee is still ongoing. If you remember, the TUC earlier submitted N447,000 as the new minimum wage but we have harmonised our figure with the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC).

“It is now N615,000. Regarding the new minimum wage, the committee is still working. So, certainly, May 1 will not work for the pronouncement of the new minimum wage, except if the federal government wants to pay the minimum wage of N500,000 to workers,” he said.

Meanwhile, former Vice President and Presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Atiku Abubakar, alleged that no government in the history of the country had trampled upon the rights of workers like the present administration.

Atiku, in a statement to commemorate the International Workers’ Day, described present development as “Sobering truth that the plight of the Nigerian worker remains dire.”

The PDP chieftain noted that despite pledges by the government, “The much talked-about prospects of wage increment for the Nigerian worker remains a mirage. Every dawn unveils renewed hardships and harsh living conditions.”

He said even though the government said the “Petrol subsidy is purportedly gone; yet its impact lingers – revealing the ineptitude of the current federal government.”

Atiku said, “Since the days of legend Pa Michael Imoudu, to later day fire brands such as Pascal Bafyau and Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, the Nigerian worker has been at the forefront of the fight against tyranny and bad governance.

“No administration in our history has trampled workers’ rights like this one. Daily, workers face uncertainty over skyrocketing prices of essential goods. The Nigerian worker has had it so rough under this current administration and it is unfortunate that while the living conditions of the Nigerian worker remain at a miserably low ebb, the Nigerian government continues to regale its international audiences with tales of how the masses are being weaned of their wasteful dependence on government”, he said.





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