New minimum wage must reflect economic realities – NLC

Ahead of next year’s negotiation of a new minimum wage for workers in the country, the Nigeria Labour Congress has said only an amount reflective of the current economic realities will be accepted.

The NLC President,  Mr Joe Ajaero, stated this on Tuesday in Abuja at the 19th edition of the NLC 2023 Harmattan School.

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that Harmattan School is part of the NLC national schools where it trains and empowers members of its affiliated unions through skills development.

Ajaero, represented by the Vice President of NLC, Mr Benjamin Anthony, said it was necessary for government at all levels to recognise that life and living conditions were getting more difficult.

“The removal of subsidies on petroleum products has further worsened the challenges faced by working people. That is unleashing severe pain and contributing to galloping inflation and increasing inequality and poverty.

“We must reckon that a well-motivated and well-remunerated workforce has a positive impact on productivity and national development. As we anticipate the commencement of negotiations for the National Minimum Wage in 2024, we seek the understanding of all stakeholders to ensure that we use this opportunity to arrive at a minimum wage commensurate with the prevailing cost of living,”he said.

The NLC president said the ultimate goal of labour was a living wage that covers the cost of living and makes allowance savings.

Again, he condemned the recent assault on workers and their leaders in Imo State

“This is as enshrined in Section 40 of the 1999 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, as amended and the ILO Conventions 87 and 98 on Freedom of Association and Collective Bargaining.

“This should unequivocally be condemned by all people of goodwill. The only thing that can assuage our pains is for the Imo  government to address all labour issues.

“They are also to return the so-called ‘ghost workers’ to their jobs, pay all outstanding salaries and pensions and call back all victimised workers to their jobs,” he said.

The ILO Country Director, Nigeria, Dr Vanessa Phala,  said the world of work was undergoing rapid changes, driven by technological advances, and climate change, among others.

“Against this context, there is no better time than now for a serious and strategic reflection on the role that organised labour executes in policy engagement and dialogue,” Phala said.

(Punch)

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