Organised Labour Rejects N62,000 and N100,000 Minimum Wage Proposals, Plans to Resume Strike

The organised labour in Nigeria has outrightly rejected the federal government’s proposed minimum wage adjustments of N62,000 and N100,000, instead demanding a more substantial N250,000. This announcement came from Chris Onyeka, assistant general secretary of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), during an appearance on Channels Television’s The Morning Brief on Monday.

The union’s rejection of these proposals signals a potential resurgence of industrial action, with the NLC and Trade Union Congress (TUC) poised to resume their nationwide strike if their demands are not met by midnight on Tuesday, June 11, 2024.

Labour’s Standpoint

Chris Onyeka made it clear that the NLC’s demand for a N250,000 minimum wage is non-negotiable, describing the proposed N62,000 or N100,000 as “starvation wages.” He emphasized that the union’s position is driven by the current economic realities faced by Nigerian workers.

“Our position is very clear. We have never considered accepting N62,000 or any other wage that we know is below what we know is able to take Nigerian workers home. We will not negotiate a starvation wage,” Onyeka stated. He further reiterated that the union has never entertained the idea of settling for N100,000, let alone N62,000, considering N250,000 as a reasonable and necessary concession given the prevailing market conditions and cost of living.

The Tripartite Committee on Minimum Wage

The demand for a N250,000 minimum wage was formally presented during the Tripartite Committee on Minimum Wage meeting last Friday. Onyeka expressed the union’s frustration with the government’s lack of urgency in addressing their demands.

“The Federal Government and the National Assembly have the call now. It is not our call. Our demand is there for them (the government) to look at and send an Executive Bill to the National Assembly, and for the National Assembly to look at what we have demanded, the various facts of the law, and then come up with a National Minimum Act that meets our demands,” Onyeka explained.

Implications of Government Inaction

The NLC has given the federal government a strict deadline of one week to respond to their demands, which expires on Tuesday. Onyeka warned that failure to meet this deadline would compel the organised labour to reconvene and decide on the next steps, which could include resuming the nationwide strike that was only recently paused.

“It was clear what we said. We said we are relaxing a nationwide indefinite strike. It’s like putting a pause on it. So, if you put a pause on something and the organs that govern us as trade unions decide that we should remove that pause, it means that we go back to what was in existence before,” Onyeka noted.

Wider Economic Context

This standoff occurs amid broader economic challenges in Nigeria, where inflation and the cost of living continue to rise sharply. The union’s insistence on a higher minimum wage reflects the dire situation many Nigerian workers face, with their current earnings insufficient to meet basic needs.

In related economic news, despite the proposed minimum wage issues, Nigeria’s stock market has shown resilience, gaining N15.25 trillion in the last five months. Additionally, the country recently sealed a $1 billion deal on five power plants, highlighting ongoing efforts to boost the national economy.


As the deadline looms, the federal government and the National Assembly must make critical decisions to address the wage demands of Nigerian workers. The organised labour’s firm stance on the N250,000 minimum wage underscores the urgent need for policies that align wages with the cost of living, ensuring that workers can sustain themselves and their families in an increasingly challenging economic environment. Failure to reach a resolution could see the nation facing another wave of industrial action, with significant implications for the economy and public life.

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