Why NLC Is Pushing For N1m New Minimum Wage For Workers — Ajaero

The Organised Labour may seek a new minimum wage of N1million for Nigerian workers, says the president of Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC ), Comrade Joe Ajaero.

The Labour Centre justified the push due to the current high rate of inflation and hardship faced by Nigerian workers following the recent removal of fuel subsidy.

If approved, the new minimum wage is expected to take off by April 2024.

Already, the federal government has set up a committee for the review of the Minimum Wage upward from the current N30,000 monthly.

But, Ajaero, who spoke on Arise News Channel on Monday, said the new demand was also due to the rising cost of living under President Bola Tinubu administration, which has implemented policies such as fuel subsidy removal.

He said, “This N1 million may be relevant if the value of the Nigerian Naira continues to depreciate; if the inflation continues unchecked because the demand of labour is equally dependent on what is happening in the society.

“You will remember that by the time we were contemplating N200,000 (as minimum wage), the exchange rate was about N800/N900 (to a dollar). As we talk today, the exchange rate is about N1,400 or even more.”

The labour leader added, “Those are the issues that determine the demand and it is equally affecting the cost of living. And we have always said that our demand will be based on the cost of living index. You will agree with me today that even a bag of rice is going for about N60,000/N70,000 or more.

“A bag of locally produced corn is about N56,000 or more. Foodstuff is getting out of reach, now are we going to get a minimum wage that will not be enough for transportation even for one week?

“You have to factor in these issues and that will determine the Federal Government’s commitment to this negotiation. It is not just that they want to give us a minimum wage.

“The old minimum wage will be expiring by April and ordinarily, the Federal Government ought to have set up a committee six months before that time so that negotiation would have commenced but the Federal Government didn’t do that until (recently when) they inaugurated a committee and the committee has not sat.

“It appears we are going to work within one month or two to agree on a figure and I doubt how those ones are going to… especially when you look at the people that the Federal Government assembled as members of the committee.

“They looked at some of the governors that are not paying even the existing minimum wage and even they have a minister of budget who didn’t implement his minimum wage as a governor.

“If you have these people in the government team on the issue of minimum wage, some of us have not seen a bright future in the work of this new minimum wage committee,” Ajaero added.

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