Labour Rules Out Timeline For New Minimum Wage, Expects Six Figures

The organised labour movement says while it is not attaching a timeline within which the President will submit a new national minimum wage, it does not expect anything less than six figures. Deputy President of Trade Union Congress (TUC), Dr Tommy Okon, who disclosed this, yesterday, at the ongoing 112th International Labour Conference (ILC) in Geneva, Switzerland, explained that with the removal of subsidies on petrol and floating of the naira that pushed food inflation to a record 40 per cent and inflation to 33.69 per cent in April 2024, President Bola Tinubu should know that any amount that is less than six figures would be a starvation wage.....Read The Full Story Here ▶

In the meantime, the Minister of Labour and Employment, Nkeiruka Onyejeocha, has commended the organised labour for putting the strike on hold to allow the Federal Government to make a definite statement on the next national minimum wage.

However, experts have flayed suggestions that the N100,000 minimum wage will escalate inflation, insisting that the Federal Government can pay. The only worry, they added, is that debt overhang will make it difficult for some states to pay.

Okon said, “I believe the President will be very conscious of the high cost of living caused by the removal of petrol subsidy and liberalisation of the foreign exchange market. These decisions taken by his government exacerbated the hardship Nigerians are going through today.”

When asked how much would likely meet Labour’s expectations, he said: “Because of the high cost of living, we are looking at six figures.”

According to Okon, the National President of the Association of Senior Civil Servants of Nigeria (ASCSN), Labour trusts the President to do the right thing.

He added, “We believe the President will live up to his word because he promised to give workers a living wage. He said the N62,000 is not a living wage. The N250,000 we presented is in line with the Renewed Hope Agenda. The President, being a democrat, will look at that and approve what is good for the worker in the interest and for the fulfilment of what he said.”

On the timeline, the TUC chief explained, “There is no timeline. The determination and decision of the President will play a fundamental role in the next line of action.”

ONYEJEOCHA commended labour for being patriotic and reviewing the strike.

“People are already unable to go out and sell wares to feed their children. Most of our population survives on daily income. Therefore, Nigeria – workers, employers and government – cannot afford to go on strike. So, I commend the labour union for at least saying that they won’t go on strike, hoping that the President will do something. So, the government, and indeed, all Nigerians commend them for doing what is right,” she stated.

AN economist, Paul Alaje, flayed suggestions that N100,000 national minimum wage would escalate inflation, saying, “How can anyone say that N100,000 minimum wage will destroy the economy? Don’t we know that devaluation and more money we earned in naira terms because of devaluation was just a money illusion? The N62,000 (government offered) is just $1.39 a day. To live above the poverty line, one must earn at least $1.95 (N86,580/month). We need to pay beyond $2 to be above the poverty line.

“Anyone that means well for Nigeria will know that the purchasing capacity of the naira has emaciated. On the average, today’s N115,000 was N30,000 in 2019. To balance this, Labour should target N100,000 to N250,000.”

Another economist, Kelvin Emmanuel, argued that 11 states were not viable and might not be in the position to pay N100,000 due to debt overhang.

He said: “The reality is that 25 of the 36 states are not financially viable. Considering that sub-national debt is 13 per cent of the total federation debt, and the revaluation losses from the naira dropping by 92 per cent over the last decade have raised the principal and interest payment on external loans. It is quite difficult for states to automatically adjust their payroll by 100 per cent immediately when a few states still struggle to pay the current wage bill.”

Nonetheless, Emmanuel called for an audit of the state workforce.

“Do the states deliberately keep ghost workers to favour some people in government? Can the governors afford higher wage bill by reducing the size of government and reworking the fiscal strategy paper in their Medium-Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) to fit government-owned enterprises that rely more on Public-Private Partnerships (PPP) and tech solutions to raise Internally-Generated Revenue (IGR) collections within their states,” he explained.

Exposed!! Medical Research Discover How Nigeria Men Can Now Naturally Last Longer, Better And Bigger In Bed Even If They Are Hypertensive And Diabetic!!