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

NIGERIA’S main labour unions said they had declared an indefinite strike from Monday after failing to agree a new minimum wage with the government.

The Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) and the Trade Union Congress (TUC) – two of the country’s biggest unions – had said on May 1 that they would down tools if a new minimum wage was not agreed by the end of May.

“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,” the unions said in a statement.

They said government representatives had not shown up for a meeting on Friday to discuss the issue after the unions rejected an earlier proposal.

The NLC and TUC said the strike would last until a new minimum wage was in place. They also demanded the reversal of an electricity tariff hike effected last month.

In April, the electricity regulator increased tariffs for better-off consumers who use the most power as the government tries to wean the economy off subsidies to ease pressure on public finances.

President Bola Tinubu has scrapped a costly fuel subsidy and lifted restrictions on currency trading, which more than tripled petrol prices. Africa’s most populous nation is now grappling with a cost-of-living crisis, fuelled by the highest inflation rate in nearly three decades.

Tinubu has been under pressure from unions to offer relief to households and small businesses after scrapping the fuel subsidy, which kept petrol cheap but cost the government $10 billion last year.

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