Private sector, states fault Labour’s push for N1m minimum wage

Members of the organised private sector, Ekiti, Sokoto, and other states have faulted the demand by the Nigeria Labour Congress for N1m minimum wage, stating that it is not realistic.

The NLC President, Joe Ajaero, in an interview on Arise television on Monday, said the organised Labour might ask for N1m during the minimum wage negotiations with the Federal Government if the value of the naira continued to plummet.

Reacting to the proposal, the Minister of Information and National Orientation, Idris Mohammed, said the Federal Government would make a reasonable decision in line with national interest and after due consideration of available resources and other factors.

Speaking with one of our correspondents on the phone, Idris said, “It is a proposal but the FG will not pre-empt the work of the 37-man committee that includes labour itself. The FG will do what is right in the interest of the nation as a whole, taking into account our resources and other factors.”

The NLC and Trade Union Congress had earlier pegged their minimum wage demand at N200, 000 but the NLC president in his Monday interview argued that the food inflation and high cost of living had made their previous demand unrealistic.

When asked if the unions’ demand for a living wage could be as high as N1m, Ajaero said, “This N1 million may be relevant if the value of the naira continues to depreciate; if the inflation continues. The demand for Labour is equally dependent on what is happening in society.

“You will remember that by the time we were contemplating N200,000, the exchange rate was about N900. As we talk today, the exchange rate is about N1,400 or even more.

“Those are the issues that determine the demand and it is equally affecting the cost of living and we have always said that our demand will be based on the cost of living index.’’

Ekiti State Commissioner for Information, Taiwo Olatunbosun, dismissed as unrealistic the N1m minimum wage suggested by the NLC president.

Olatunbosun, who said that “just as labour has the right to make any demand, the government has the right to negotiate,” advised the unions to set a realistic goal.

“Concerning whether Ekiti has the money, well, it is still the same thing that even if they (labour) ask for N1b per the least paid person, the right of negotiation will still be there. I believe that the government will still do the needful by engaging the labour.’’

Speaking in the same tone, the Sokoto and Benue State governments advised the labour leadership to present a realistic minimum wage.



Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here