Negotiations over a potential increase in Nigeria’s national minimum wage have taken a contentious turn after the House of Representatives reportedly launched a verbal attack on labour leaders.
The House also picked holes in the handling of the suspended industrial action by union leaders, describing the shutting down of the national grid as an act of economic sabotage.
In a statement issued on Tuesday, by its spokesman Akin Rotimi, the House said those responsible for sabotaging the nation’s economy should be brought to justice.
Insisting that the parliament supports the clamour for a living wage for workers, the statement warned against raising salaries beyond what the economy can accommodate to guard against untold consequences.
The statement reads: “The House of Representatives acknowledges the recent industrial action undertaken by the NLC and the TUC due to the breakdown in negotiations for a new national minimum wage.
“The People’s House is pleased to note that the strike action has been suspended for one week to allow for further negotiation.
“During this period, as we have previously demonstrated, the People’s House remains responsive and committed to actively engaging all stakeholders to resolve the issues in the best interest of Nigerians.
READ ALSO:Reps move to avert strike over new minimum wage
“House Speaker Abbas Tajudeen has consistently advocated a living wage and better working conditions for workers.
“At various fora, he has emphasised the importance of addressing key national priorities, including the state of the economy and insecurity, through legislative action.
“While the Green Chamber is in full support of the call for improved wages and working conditions, there is a great need to exercise caution in increasing the minimum wage beyond what our economy can sustain, to avoid unintended outcomes such as inflation, layoffs, and other adverse economic consequences.
“Thus, we restate the importance of approaching this issue from a balanced perspective to ensure long-term stability and prosperity for all.
“In the same vein, we observed with concern, the direction of the strike action before its suspension, and what it portends for the future.
“Importantly, the shutdown of critical infrastructure, such as the national grid, constitutes economic sabotage and is detrimental to the well-being of our country. Those responsible for these actions must be held accountable.
“We also find it troubling that the leadership of Organised Labour, the majority of who live far above the means of the average Nigerian, would engage in actions that exacerbate the suffering of ordinary citizens.
“It is necessary, therefore, to state that while industrial actions and dissent are fundamental rights within our democratic space that must be protected, the manner in which Labour conducted itself during the just-suspended strike, largely shows a lack of empathy for Nigerians.
“Contrary to the insinuations of the Labour leadership through its social media platforms, the Legislature is on the side of Nigerians and will continue to act in the best interest of our constituents – giving meaning to their mandate.
“The 10th House of Representatives is committed to strengthening relevant legislation to ensure that essential services remain operational during future industrial actions, thereby protecting the lives and well-being of all.
“We urge the leadership of organised Labour to return to the negotiation table and engage other stakeholders, in good faith, with a view to achieving a balanced and sustainable outcome.
“The House remains steadfast in our commitment to the well-being of the Nigerian worker and the overall development of our country.”
This development comes as the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) engages in discussions with the government regarding wage adjustments. The NLC has reportedly proposed a raise that reflects the ongoing depreciation of the Naira.

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