Home » Minimum wage: We won’t shift ground on N615,000 demand — Organised Labour

Minimum wage: We won’t shift ground on N615,000 demand — Organised Labour

by John Ojewale
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The Nigeria Labour Congress and the Trade Union Congress have indicated they would not accept the Federal Government’s proposed N48,000 minimum wage.

The organised private sector had made an initial offer of N54,000 per month as a livable wage.

On Wednesday, the unions abandoned the minimum wage negotiations when the Federal Government proposed to pay N48,000, significantly less than the N615,00 the unions were requesting as the new national minimum wage.

After quitting the session, the enraged labour leaders held an impromptu news conference to express their unhappiness with the offer, calling it “an insult to the sensibilities of Nigerian workers”.

The deal had broken down for the second time in two weeks.

The last session, conducted on April 29, ended in an impasse because organised labour insisted on a minimum wage of N615,000.

The Federal Government rejected labour’s demand, claiming that it was unrealistic.

Joe Ajaero, National President of the NLC, stated that the figure was determined after considering the present economic circumstances and the demands of an average Nigerian household of six.

He criticised the government and the OPS for the failure of negotiations, adding,

In an interview about the subject, Ajaero said:

“Living wage is such that it will, at least, keep you alive. It is not a wage that will make you poorer and poorer. It is not a wage that will make you borrow to go to work. It is not a wage that will lead you to be in the hospital every day because of malnutrition. For that living wage, we have tried to look at N615,000.

“Let me give you a breakdown of how we arrived at that figure. We have housing and accommodation of N40,000. We asked for electricity of N20,000 — of course, that was before the current tariff increase. Nobody can spend this amount currently. We have a utility that is about N10,000. We looked at kerosene and gas, that is about N25,000 to N35,000.

“We looked at food for a family of six. That is about N9,000 in a day. For 30 days, that is about N270,000. Look at health. With the N50,000 provided, there will be no surgery or whatever. For clothing, we looked at N20,000. For education, N50,000. I don’t know about those who tried to put their children in private schools, they will not be able to cope with this amount. We also have sanitation of N10,000.

“I think where we have another bulk of the money is transportation. This is because the workers stay on the fringes and because of the cost of petrol, which amounted to N110,000. That brought the whole living wage to N615,000, and I want anyone to subject this to further investigation and find out whether there will be any savings when you pay somebody at this rate.”


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