28 April 2016
The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and the Trade Union Congress (TUC) are proposing 56,000 Naira (about $281) as a new minimum wage to the Nigerian Government. The new proposal was decided at a press conference held on Wednesday at the nation’s capital, Abuja.
The President of the NLC, Mr. Ayuba Wabba, informed reporters that the two unions had made the proposed demand to the Federal Government on Tuesday. This would be a 38,000 Naira increase from the minimum wage that is presently 18,000 Naira.
Mr. Ayuba Wabba said, “I can say now authoritatively that as of yesterday (Tuesday) we made a formal proposal to the Federal Government of 56,000 Naira to be the new minimum wage.
“The demand has been submitted officially to the government and we hope that the tripartite system to look at the review will actually be put up to look at it.
“Our argument is that, yes, it is true that the economy is not doing well, but the law stated that wages for workers must be reviewed after every five years.
“So, the issue must be looked into by the Federal Government and workers should not be seen as sleeping on their rights.”
The NLC President additionally informed the conference that the review of the minimum wage was last done in 2011 and a set up of methods of review by a tripartite committee was long overdue.
According to him, representatives of the unions and the government could only fashion out the negotiation process at a roundtable.
He pointed out that the proposed minimum wage should cater for workers and their sustainance in a month. His words, “first, Nigerians must understand the logic behind the minimum wage. The logic is to ensure that no worker earns below what can be able to sustain him, wife and four children for a period of 30 days. We must understand that the challenge we are passing through in our economy, we don’t expect it to be forever. It is something that is transient. Economies will always go up and down.”
He urged the government to set up the committee to review the minimum wage for the proposal demanded.
Wabba said, “you also know that when we negotiated the 18,000 Naira minimum wage, the value in terms of the exchange rate at that time was almost at 110 Naira to the dollar.
“But as at today, the value of the Naira to the dollar has been reduced; and there are the issues of inflation and purchasing power, among others to contend with.
“So, it also about the law of the review of the wage, the law envisaged that within a circle of five years, there must be a review.”