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Why Private Sector Accepts Tinubu N60,000 Minimum Wage — MAN DG

Why Private Sector Accepts Tinubu N60,000 Minimum Wage — MAN DG

Ajayi Kadri, the Director-General of the Manufacturing Association of Nigeria (MAN), has confirmed that the organised private sector has accepted the Federal Government’s proposal for a new minimum wage of N60,000.
Kadri made this announcement during an interview with Channels TV in Abuja on Saturday.
He clarified that the ongoing negotiations between the government, the private sector, and labour unions are focused on establishing a minimum wage, not a living wage.
Kadri highlighted the economic difficulties faced by both labour and private businesses, making it challenging to meet the wage demands of labour unions.

“To start with, this is a very difficult time for anyone to negotiate minimum wage. From the perspective of government, labour, and the organised private sector, we operate in an environment where there is general acceptance that the macroeconomics are not right, even the global economy is experiencing a lot of shakeups and the aftermath of government necessary reforms,” Kadri stated.

He added, “From the beginning of the negotiations of the minimum wage, it’s evident to the tripartite— the government, labour, and organised private sector— that we are going to operate in a difficult terrain.
“Incidentally, the organised private sector and government have offered N60,000 as the minimum wage and I think it is very important for us to understand that what we are talking about is the minimum wage.

“That is what some people have called the walk-in wage. That is the amount we will pay the least workers in the country. It is the minimum wage we are negotiating, not a living wage.”

Kadri also disclosed that both the government and the private sector are significantly constrained in fulfilling the proposed N419,000 living wage request.
He mentioned that economic challenges and inflation make it impossible for the private sector to pay such an amount.
He explained that this is not the most appropriate time for organised labour to negotiate a new minimum wage. Instead, they should collaborate with other stakeholders to strengthen the economy.
“All of us in the tripartite— the government, the labour, and the private sector — we all knew that we were operating in a very difficult environment.

“The government itself realized that it had limited capacity to pay. The private sector is constrained by microeconomic, infrastructure, and security challenges. So, we are also constrained to pay,” Kadri concluded.

“Labour on its part, is under intense pressure from its constituencies to ask for a higher wage because inflation has hit the roof and the operating environment is tough.
“Throughout the negotiation process, we made it known that this is not the best time to negotiate minimum wage.
“This is the time for us to agree, the crew behind the government, and grow the economy in such that we will bake a bigger cake and then we’ll be able to share,” the director general added.
He, however, appealed to organised labour to reconsider its decision to embark on a nationwide strike.
He noted that the labour walking out of discussions and declaring strike would not help matters.
He added that it is unfortunate that labour rejected the N60,000 offer from the government and the organised private sector, choosing to declare a nationwide strike.
“We cannot afford to cripple the economy when all we needed to do was continue to build it. I think President Tinubu was very clear when he emerged as president that these are not going to be easy times, and I think we needed to tighten our belts to deliver on economy that we know has been seriously battered,” Ajayi-Kadir said.
“Of course, the government on its own side has to demonstrate leadership, sensitivity and sense and sense of mind, as well as the sense of occasion of the period that we are in. So, government expenditure, government choices of what needs to be done, how much to be spent, the cost of governance itself, all of it has to come to the table.

“I think what labour is actually worried about is that they appear to be the ones on the brunt of it but we needed to be able to engage, walking out on the process and declaring a strike, I do not think that that is what is going to solve this issue,” he added.
On Friday, organised labour declared a nationwide indefinite strike over the Federal Government’s refusal to raise the proposed minimum wage from N60,000.
They claimed that the strike followed the expiration of an earlier request to the Federal Government to complete all negotiations for a new minimum wage by the end of May.

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