BREAKING: Stakeholders Shouldn’t Wait five Years To Set Minimum Wage, Says Edun

As the organised labour embarks on a nationwide strike over demand for a new minimum wage for workers in the country, the Minister of Finance and Coordinating Minister of the Economy, Wale Edun, has said stakeholders including the Federal Government, labour unions and the Organised Private Sector should not wait till the expiration of the five-year validity period of minimum wage before negotiating a new living wage....Read The Full Story Here ▶

Edun, who was a guest on a live television programme on Sunday, said in a democracy, the wage negotiation process is a very important one.

He said the “complex and difficult” process is ongoing “but with goodwill on all sides, we will come to a landing that benefits all Nigerians.”

The minister said, “It is difficult because the worker deserves his wage and given what is going on, they deserve a change and in fact, by law, every five years, and may be, we shouldn’t have to wait five years everytime to set a new wage scale. The fact is that by law, it is a minimum wage.

“So, you are not setting a wage for Federal Government workers, for example. In a federation, you are setting a minimum figure that states must pay, that local governments must pay, that the private sector must pay, that small businesses must pay.

“It is a fixed figure, not a scale. So, there are elements of how we have set the minimum wage in the past, particularly what we called the consequential adjustment, which, given what labour is asking today, will be unaffordable across the board.

“We have to focus on the fact that once it is enshrined in law, everybody that falls into the category of having to pay the minimum wage must pay it. Therefore, the affordability has to be taken into account.

“We probably have to also take into account the fact that there are other ways of supporting cost of living of workers other than wage scale.”

The Nigeria Labour Congress and the Trade Union Congress had said the current minimum wage of ₦30,000 could no longer cater to the wellbeing of an average Nigerian worker, lamenting that not all governors are paying the current wage award which expired in April 2024, five years after the Minimum Wage Act of 2019 was signed by former President Muhammadu Buhari.

The Act should be reviewed every five years to meet up with contemporary economic demands of workers.

Labour later handed the Federal Government a May 31 deadline for the a new minimum wage. On May 31, the workers’ organs in the country declared a nationwide strike beginning from Monday, June 3, 2024 over the government committee’s inability to agree on a new minimum wage and reversal of electricity tariff hike.

During the failed talks with the government, Labour rejected three government’s offers, the latest being N60,000.

Both the TUC and the NLC subsequently pulled out of negotiations, insisting on ₦497,000 as the new minimum wage.

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