Unions in the textile and garment industry won a new sectorial minimum wage of N32,000 per month in December. The National Union of Textile, Garment and Tailoring Workers of Nigeria (NUTGTWN) has been a union with traditions of robust organising, even as it engages with employers in negotiations.
The new sectorial minimum wage was part of the Collective Bargaining Agreement reached after the 46th bargaining round between employers and unions. But, it was not won simply through negotiations. The unions campaign, including for an end to precarious employment in the textile and garment industry had been taken to the streets on October 7, as part of activities to mark the Decent Work Day.
This victory must be seen as a tonic for the struggle for a N56,000 national minimum wage, by the NLC and TUC. If two unions in a sector which is facing severe challenges as a result of the importation of cheap textiles could win this level of concession, the time is ripe for the national trade union centres to redouble efforts and win a living wage as new minimum wage.
SWL commends textile and garment workers on this victory, as we also point out that, it is not yet uhuru. We also call on the NLC and TUC to draw inspiration from this and mobilise the labour movement in struggle for the N56,000 minimum wage.
by Segun Ogun