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  • News - North Central - FCT
  • Updated: February 12, 2024

Ajaero reveals why NLC may demand N1 million as new minimum wage

Ajaero reveals why NLC may demand N1 million as new minimum

The President of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Joe Ajaero, has stated that organised labour may be forced to seek one million naira as the new minimum wage for Nigerian workers.

During an interview with Arise TV, the NLC president stated that the exchange rate at the time of considering ₦200,000 as the minimum salary was approximately ₦800/$1, but this has since changed.

He stated that if the naira's value continues to fall and inflation bites harder, the NLC will have no alternative but to demand one million naira as the new minimum wage.

According to Ajaero, employment demand is determined by what is happening in society. He stated that labour demand will be determined by the cost of living index.

Speaking further, the NLC president stated that the federal government should have established the new minimum wage committee at least six months before the present national minimum wage expired, but this did not occur.

He disclosed that even after the committee was established, they have yet to hold meetings, implying that they may have less than a month to deliberate and agree on a new minimum wage for Nigerian workers.

Ajaero said, “This N1 million may be relevant if the value of the Nigerian (naira) continues to depreciate; if the inflation continues unchecked because the demand for labour is equally dependent on what is happening in the society.

“You will remember that by the time we were contemplating N200,000 (as minimum wage), the exchange rate was about N800/N900 (to a dollar). 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.

“You will agree with me today that even a bag of rice is going for about N60,000/N70,000 or more. A bag of locally produced corn is about N56,000 or more. Foodstuff is getting out of reach, now are we going to get a minimum wage that will not be enough for transportation even for one week?

“You have to factor in these issues and that will determine the federal government’s commitment to this negotiation. It is not just that they want to give us a minimum wage.

“The old minimum wage will be expiring by April and ordinarily, the federal government ought to have set up a committee six months before that time so that negotiation would have commenced but the federal government didn’t do that until (recently when) they inaugurated a committee and the committee has not sat.

“It appears we have going to work within one month or two to agree on a figure and I doubt how those ones are going to… especially when you look at the people that the federal government assembled as members of the committee.

“They looked at some of the governors that are not paying even the existing minimum wage and even they have a minister of budget who didn’t implement his minimum wage as a governor.

“If you have these people in the government team on the issue of minimum wage, some of us have not seen a bright future in the work of this new minimum wage committee." 

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