Minimum Wage: NLC Speaks On How Much Minimum Wage Should Be

NLC Speaks On How Much Minimum Wage Should Be

The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) has raised a team to negotiate with the Federal Government on minimum wage.

Recall that President Bola Tinubu, in his New Year address, stated that his administration will implement a “national living wage” this year.

The subsisting minimum wage, negotiated in 2018, expires in April 2024. Each agreed minimum wage has a five-year lifespan.

Tinubu had said in the address,

“The economic aspirations and the material well-being of the poor, the most vulnerable and the working people shall not be neglected.

“It is in this spirit that we are going to implement a new national living wage for our industrious workers this New Year. It is not only good economics to do this, it is also a morally and politically correct thing to do.”

The President of the Nigeria Labour Congress, Joe Ajaero, in an interview with Vanguard, highlighted the indices that will be looked at before arriving at an acceptable figure for minimum wage, hinting that the next minimum wage may not be less than N200,000 if Labour has its way. Excerpts:

Speaking on the situation on the setting up of the committee for the exercise, Ajaero said,

“The committee has not been set up but we have submitted all the names of the labour team. We thought that the government would have, on the first week of December 2023 or the last week of November, constituted the committee but, as of today (last Thursday), the committee has not been constituted. That is the situation but we have submitted the names, of those who are supposed to represent labour in the committee.”

Ajaero in his take on the timeframe to implement the minimum wage said,

“I am sure you have read our New Year message. The government virtually reneged in all the agreements including the N35,000 (petrol subsidy palliative) wage award on which they paid only one month. They are going to start the year with the payment of the arrears. That is where we will start from; we have to start from where we stopped moving forward.”

“Well, I didn’t just say N200,000. I tried to figure out the value of $200 then. So, if you are looking at the constant variables from the point of view of two hundred dollars, you will discover that a dollar is around a thousand two hundred naira now. You have to adjust based on the prevailing circumstances,” Ajaero spoke on how much the minimum wage should be.

The labour leader who spoke on what the Organized Labour would be considering while negotiating for the new minimum wage said,

“A lot. We have said it before. Cost of living, devaluation of the currency and the labour market vis a vis the countries that share the same value with us: The oil-exporting countries and some other countries that share the same economic indices with us. All those issues must come into play.

“The projection is what I have told you. I have mentioned it to you. I have mentioned the value of the currency as of today. I mentioned about $200 and the value, we discussed it.”

He noted that implementation of the new minimum wage should take place in April.

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