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NLC to hold organs meeting over minimum wage

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AKOR SYLVESTER, Abuja

As the five days suspension of the nationwide indefinite strike embarked upon by the organised labour over the non-completion of the national minimum wage by the negotiation team and the hike in electricity tariff ends Moday, the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) has said that the appropriate organs of the organised labour would meet this week to take the next line of action.
This is as the congress has warned the Nigerian Governors over their recent outburst on the earlier proposed national minimum wage for workers
The committee on the minimum wage, during the weekend submitted a recommendation of N62,000 to President Bola Tinubu as national minimum wage for workers, as organised labour on its part reviewed it’s earlier position of N494,000 to N250,000 as an acceptable national minimum wage.
But speaking to Daily Champion on phone Sunday in Abuja, the Head of Information and Public affairs of NLC, Benson Upah said the organised labour will, as a result of the present development, hold a meeting of the appropriate organs of the union this week to take the next line of action.
Recall that the organised labour suspended it’s nationwide strike last week to give room for further negotiation on the minimum wage, following the appeal to the organised labour by President Bola Tinubu.
Upah in his response to the present situation on the minimum wage said the organised labour will take the right decision in the proposed meeting if government fails to offer an acceptable.minimum wage to workers.
On the outburst of the state Governors, the congress spokesman, in a statement, warned them to save Nigerians from certain death.
The statement he personally signed reads:”We are alarmed by the statement credited to the Nigeria Governors Forum that state governments cannot even afford to pay N60,000 as
minimum wage as “a few states will end up borrowing to pay workers every month”.
“We do believe the Governors have acted in bad faith. It is unheard of for such a statement be issued to the world in the middle of an on-going negotiation. It is certainly in bad taste.
“As for the veracity of their claim, nothing can be further from the truth as FAAC allocations have since moved from N700 billion to N1.2 trillion. making the governments extremely rich at the expense of the people.
“All that the governors need to do to be able to pay a reasonable national minimum wage (not even the N60,000) is cut on the high cost of governance, minimise corruption as well as prioritise the welfare of workers.
“It is important to explain here that a national minimum wage is not synonymous with the different pay structures of different states. The national minimum wage is the lowest floor below which no employer is allowed to pay. The aim is to protect the weak and the poor.
“We are not fixated with figures but value. Those who argue that moving the national minimum wage from N30,000 to N60,000 is sufficiently good enough miss the point. In 2019, when N30,000 became the minimum, N300 exchanged for $1 (effectively making the minimum wage an equivalent of $100 or thereabout) while inflation rate was 11.40.
“At the moment the exchange rate is at N1,600 to $1 while inflation hovers at 33.7% (40% for food). This puts the value of the minimum wage at $37.5 for a family of six. This is happening at a time costs of everything rose by more than 400% as a result of the removal of fuel subsidy. This is an extreme bad news for the poor.
“Government’s policies of fuel subsidy removal, mindless devaluation of the Naira, energy tariff hike by 250% and interest rate hike by 26.5% will continue to hurt the economy (especially manufacturing sector) and the poor.
“Already manifest is the mass incapcity of Nigerians leading to overflowing warehouses of the productive sector of the economy. The downward trend will continue except the capacity of workers and businesses is enhanced.
“Paying a miserable national minimum wage portends grave danger to not only the workforce but the national economy as in truth, economies of most states are driven by workers wages.
“In light of this, we urge the governors to do a re-think and save the country from a certain death”.

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