Nigeria’s government reviews minimum wage after nationwide strikes called off

Nigeria’s government reviews minimum wage after nationwide strikes called off

Representatives of the Nigerian government, unions and private industries will meet today and tomorrow to review the nation’s minimum wage

nigeria strikes called off negotiations

Photo: Reuters/Akintunde Akinleye

Representatives of the Nigerian government, unions and private industries will meet today and tomorrow to review the nation’s minimum wage days after labour unions cancelled a nationwide strike that had paralysed Africa’s largest economy.

The strike, which began last Thursday, was triggered after talks to raise the monthly minimum wage by more than threefold broke down. Indeed, the current minimum of $50 is far below a typical family’s monthly living wage (around $300). The strike was called off earlier this week after the government promised to review the policy.

The strikes come at a particularly sensitive time for Nigeria, which has just emerged from a painful recession exacerbated by security problems. With unions in the oil and gas sector—the source of more than 60% of government revenue—participating in the strike, the government is feeling the heat. Because Nigeria is the world’s sixth largest oil producer, an extended strike affecting production could put upward pressure on global oil prices.

However, with over half of Nigeria’s state governments unable to pay civil servants last year, it remains unclear whether a large hike would be feasible. While over for now, further strikes are likely if today’s meeting does not yield progress.

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