Tinubu to Meet with Organised Labour Today over New Minimum Wage

•Ajaero laments plight of Nigerian retirees

Onyebuchi Ezigbo in Abuja

President Bola Tinubu is expected to meet with members of the organised labour today (Thursday) to resolve issues delaying the approval of a new minimum wage for Nigerian workers, THISDAY learnt yesterday.

A top member of the labour union told journalists that the president has invited the leadership of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and Trade Union Congress (TUC) to the meeting expected to be held at the Presidential Villa.

The source said Tinubu was expected to further consult with the leadership of the two labour centres on the N62,000 proposal of the government and private sector and the N250,000 being demanded by labour.

According to the source, Tinubu would be weighing in on how to reach a common ground with labour.

The meeting is coming almost a month after the president promised in his Democracy Day speech on June 12, 2024, that an Executive Bill on the new national minimum wage for workers would soon be sent to the National Assembly for passage.

Meanwhile, the President of the NLC, Joe Ajaero has decried the suffering and neglect that retired workers are subjected to in the country.

Ajaero who spoke at the 2024 National Pre-retirement Summit held in Abuja yesterday called for a return to the old pension scheme.

According to him, currently the federal government is alleged to owe nearly N260 billion in pension arrears, with federal parastatals accounting for an additional N40 billion.

He said many workers have fear about what would become of them after retirement because it does not offer security

“Pension scheme, as it currently stands in Nigeria, unfortunately falls short of its fundamental purpose; to provide for workers in their old age.

“Retirement under the present scheme may therefore become a death sentence for many and this has many consequences for behaviour of workers in active service.

“The federal government it is alleged to owe nearly N260 billion in pension arrears, with federal parastatals accounting for an additional N40 billion,” he said.

Ajaero said that some states have arrears stretching up to eight years.

 “In the private sector, reports indicate that many companies are in arrears of up to three years, deducting contributions from workers’ salaries without remitting them to the respective Pension Fund,” he said

The NLC president further said that the medium for storing pensions which is the Naira has maintained an unstable value and has kept depreciating over the years.

The NLC president regretted that pensions which are meant to offer security and peace of mind, ensuring that retirees can enjoy their golden years without financial stress and in good health, have now become an instrument of torment.

He said that it is worrisome that most retired members encounter not just health challenges but many suffer untimely deaths because of the character and nature of the pension scheme which he said pauperises them financially at retirement.

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