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Worry as Fresh ILO Report Says Global Unemployment Will Rise to 208m This Year

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Aussie Job-Market

There is worry following a fresh report of the International Labour Organisation (ILO) which predicted that global unemployment would jump up 3 million to 208 million this year.

Also, the agency said this would mark a reversal of the decline in global unemployment witnessed between 2020 and 2022.

The ILO said the current slowdown means that many workers would have to accept lower-quality jobs, often at very low pay, sometimes with insufficient hours.

The report noted that while prices rise faster than nominal labour incomes, the cost-of-living crisis risks pushing more people into poverty, including millions who are being pushed below the poverty line.

According to the United Nations agency, the development was caused by significant declines in income seen during the COVID-19 crisis, which affected low-income groups worst in many countries.

The ILO revealed that there is an imminent increase in inequality in many parts of the world, a situation it said has started causing worry and panic among humanity.

The report further noted that there was an emerging understanding that the world must collaborate to address economic, social and environmental concerns on an equal basis.

According to the agency, Labour standards, employment policies, social protection and social dialogue are more important than ever, and that decent work is central to all of human lives and goes far beyond the workplace.

The living condition is further described as the pathway out of poverty and a core element of sustainable development, stressing that inflation is a major factor causing the loss of jobs and unemployment.

It said the situation is part of the reasons why aspects of the ILO’s decent work agenda are also included in many other Sustainable Development Goals from poverty reduction, food security, health, and inequality, to the range of environmental goals which need just transitions, and the quest for peace, justice and strong institutions.

The agency, therefore, sought for collaboration of actions from world leaders and organisations to arrest the ugly development.

Specifically, the ILO said combined actions, global and national, are crucial in countries which confront massive decent work deficits and excessive inequalities while their financial resources and institutional capacities were limited.

Findings by Investors King revealed that Nigeria is one of the countries of the world that could be severely hit by the looming unemployment and poverty.

Already, the most populous black nation in Africa has been ranked the poverty capital of the world.

In another report issued by the agency, it was stated that millions of jobs in Nigeria and other Sub-Saharan countries face the dire risk of high unemployment in 2023.

The ILO expressed worry that the Russia-Ukraine war pushed millions more Nigerians into poverty in 2022 and many would be further impoverished this year if concerted and very urgent measures are not taken.

 

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President Tinubu Sets New N70,000 Minimum Wage, Promises Regular Review

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President Bola Tinubu has approved a new minimum wage of N70,000.

This decision follows a meeting with the leadership of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and the Trade Union Congress (TUC) at the Presidential Villa in Abuja.

The announcement, made by the Special Adviser on Information and Strategy, Bayo Onanuga, also includes a commitment to review the national minimum wage every three years.

This measure aims to ensure that wages keep pace with inflation and economic conditions.

“President Bola Tinubu has approved N70,000 minimum wage for Nigerian workers, with a promise to review the national minimum wage law every three years,” Onanuga stated on social media platform X.

During the meeting, President Tinubu also pledged to explore ways to assist the private sector and state governments in implementing the new wage structure.

This gesture acknowledges the financial challenges faced by various sectors in meeting the wage increase.

Labour leaders expressed appreciation for what they described as the President’s “fatherly gesture.”

The President further committed to using his executive authority to address the four months’ salary arrears owed to university unions, highlighting his administration’s focus on education and worker welfare.

This development marks the second meeting between the President and labour leaders in a week, underscoring the government’s proactive approach to addressing workers’ concerns and promoting economic stability.

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President Tinubu Asserts Minimum Wage Will Reflect Nigeria’s Economic Realities

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Bola Tinubu

President Bola Tinubu declared that Nigeria’s minimum wage will be determined by what the nation can afford.

Speaking at a dinner celebrating Nigeria’s 25 years of unbroken democratic rule, Tinubu said it is necessary to align the minimum wage with the country’s economic realities.

“The minimum wage is going to be what Nigerians can afford, what you can afford and what I can afford,” President Tinubu stated, addressing a gathering of dignitaries and officials in Abuja on Wednesday.

This pronouncement comes amid ongoing discussions and debates about the appropriate level for the national minimum wage.

The Organised Labour has been vocal in its demand for a significant increase, proposing a minimum wage of N250,000, far exceeding the N62,000 suggested by the federal government team in the Tripartite Committee on Minimum Wage.

In response to Tinubu’s statement, Labour leaders have reiterated their stance, refusing to accept what they term a “starvation minimum wage.”

Tinubu’s remarks also touched on the broader issue of food inflation, a critical concern for many Nigerians. The President acknowledged the role of banditry in exacerbating food scarcity and driving up prices.

“The promises I could make is to struggle to bring the food price down but those bandits must leave the farmers alone and bring Nigeria back to its glory of production and harvesting,” he said.

Highlighting the challenges posed by entrenched interests in the oil industry, Tinubu noted that those accustomed to significant profits over decades are resistant to changes that might disrupt their financial advantages.

This resistance, he argued, is part of the broader struggle Nigeria faces in its path to economic stability and growth.

Reflecting on the nation’s democratic journey, Tinubu expressed pride and optimism. He recounted a humorous incident from the morning’s Democracy Day parade, where he stumbled while performing the traditional Yoruba “dobale” (prostration). “Democracy is worth falling for,” he quipped, underscoring his deep commitment to the democratic process.

The President also addressed calls for fiscal prudence from various quarters, particularly in light of Labour’s demands. He urged Nigerians to manage their expectations realistically. “They ask you to cut your coat according to your size, if you have size at all,” he remarked, advocating for economic policies that reflect the nation’s financial realities.

Tinubu praised the spirit of unity and cooperation demonstrated by leaders across party lines, acknowledging the presence of governors from various states and parties at the dinner.

He reiterated the importance of national unity, saying “Is it not true that Nigeria is greater than any one of us? The unity of this country cannot be traded.”

The President also took a moment to reflect on criticisms regarding the reversal to the old National Anthem, defending the decision as part of Nigeria’s rich cultural heritage.

“If you cannot change the name Nigeria are you the creator of Nigerian name?” he queried, affirming his commitment to the country’s identity and unity.

As Nigeria looks to the future, President Tinubu called for collective effort and investment in national orientation to instill a sense of responsibility and patriotism in the younger generation.

“We will make Nigeria a tremendously successful country if we gather as we gather here tonight and encourage our children about the charter of our value system,” he stated.

In closing, Tinubu highlighted the importance of rejecting corruption and upholding integrity, praising customs officers in Kebbi and Ondo for their recent actions against bribery and vandalism.

“Citizenship is not just the dictionary meaning of it; it is the actual character in us, and we must teach these ones to achieve it,” he concluded.

The dinner was attended by notable personalities, including former Foreign Minister Bolaji Akinyemi, diplomat Babagana Kingibe, veteran journalist Segun Osoba, and political leaders Bisi Akande, Pius Akinyelure, and Lawal Shuaibu, among others.

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NLC and TUC Suspend Strike For One Week Over Minimum Wage, Electricity Tariff Hike

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Nigeria Labour Congress - Investors King

The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and the Trade Union Congress (TUC) have announced the suspension of their industrial action for one week.

The strike, initiated to protest the lack of consensus on a new minimum wage and the recent hike in electricity tariffs, had brought critical sectors of the Nigerian economy to a standstill.

Temporary Halt in Strike Actions

Festus Osifo, the president of the TUC, made the announcement on Tuesday following a joint extraordinary national executive council meeting held in Abuja.

The decision to suspend the strike is intended to provide a window for further negotiations with the government.

Osifo assured that a detailed communique outlining the unions’ expectations and next steps would be issued shortly.

Background of the Strike

The industrial action began on Monday, causing widespread disruption across the country. Schools, businesses, hospitals, and airports were shut down, significantly affecting daily activities.

Also, the national grid was shut down, plunging the nation into darkness and highlighting the severity of the unions’ grievances.

The NLC and TUC have been adamant about their demands for a revised minimum wage that reflects the current economic realities and an immediate reversal of the electricity tariff hike, which they argue places an undue financial burden on Nigerians.

Impact of the Strike

The shutdown had immediate and far-reaching impacts. Educational institutions were closed, disrupting the academic calendar. Business operations were halted, leading to potential financial losses.

The healthcare sector, already strained, faced additional challenges as hospitals were forced to operate on limited resources or close entirely. Airports, critical for both domestic and international travel, saw significant disruptions, affecting thousands of passengers.

Perhaps most critically, the national grid shutdown resulted in widespread power outages, affecting both residential areas and industrial operations. This blackout underscored the unions’ influence and the severity of their concerns.

Government’s Response and Next Steps

In response to the strike, government officials have been working to address the unions’ demands. The suspension of the strike is seen as a positive step towards achieving a resolution, but the unions have made it clear that this is a temporary measure. They expect substantive progress in the negotiations within the week.

The forthcoming communique from the NLC and TUC will likely provide more detailed insights into the terms of the suspension and the unions’ expectations from the government. Both parties will need to navigate these discussions carefully to avoid further disruptions.

Public Reaction

The public has reacted with a mix of relief and cautious optimism. Many Nigerians have expressed hope that the temporary suspension will lead to a lasting resolution that addresses the economic hardships faced by the populace.

However, there is also a palpable sense of uncertainty, given the history of prolonged negotiations without concrete outcomes.

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