Nigeria’s main labour unions declare indefinite strike over minimum wage dispute

Nigeria’s main labour unions declare indefinite strike over minimum wage dispute

's primary labour unions, the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) and the (TUC), have declared an indefinite strike starting Monday after failing to secure a new minimum wage agreement with the government.

The NLC and TUC, two of Nigeria's largest unions, had warned on May 1 that they would initiate a strike if a new minimum wage was not agreed upon by the end of May. In a statement, the unions said, “Government refused to move forward, not even a kobo was added to the 60,000 naira that they proposed on Tuesday and we rightly rejected.”

This industrial action follows President 's recent economic reforms, including the elimination of a costly fuel subsidy and the lifting of currency trading restrictions, which have more than tripled petrol prices. These measures have contributed to a severe cost-of-living crisis in Nigeria, currently experiencing the highest in nearly three decades.

President Tinubu has been under significant pressure from unions to provide relief for households and small businesses following the scrapping of the fuel subsidy, which, while keeping petrol affordable, cost the government $10 billion last year.

The unions noted that government representatives failed to attend a scheduled meeting on Friday to discuss the wage issue after the unions rejected the government's previous proposal. The NLC and TUC announced that the strike would continue until a new minimum wage is established. They also demanded the reversal of an electricity tariff hike implemented last month.

In April, the electricity regulator increased tariffs for higher-consuming households as part of the government's efforts to reduce subsidies and alleviate pressure on public finances.

The strike represents a significant escalation in the ongoing dispute between the government and labour unions, highlighting the broader economic challenges facing Africa's most populous nation amidst its efforts to stabilize public finances and address inflation.

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