10 February 2018, Sweetcrude, Abuja – The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and the Trade Union Congress (TUC) have submitted a new request for an increase of the national minimum wage above N56,000 per month to the tripartite committee on minimum wage.
This was disclosed at the 11th Quadrennial Delegates Conference of the Nigeria Civil Service Union by the acting NLC chairman, Mr. Kiri Mohammed, in Abuja.
President Muhammadu Buhari in November last year approved the membership of the tripartite National Minimum Wage Committee.
Minister of Labour and Productivity, Dr. Chris Ngige, who briefed reporters after meeting with the president, also said discussions with the affected parties would decide whether the N56,000 national minimum wage being demanded by workers “is achievable”.
He said, “When we came to power in 2015, there was a minimum wage, and by May 2016, we now had a deregulation in the petroleum industry and prices of petroleum products went up and we started discussions with organised labour.
“One of the agreements was that the issue would be addressed. The old law expired last year August and we are now in the process of impaneling a new national minimum wage committee.”
Organised labour in the country has lamented that the current minimum wage of N18,000 per month was unsustainable, calling for a new national minimum wage of N56,000 monthly.
The acting NLC boss said the demand for its upward review was as a result of inflation and other economic realities in the country.
He said, “We submitted our request, NLC has decided to look at the figure and modify it, we actually modified it, an upward review above N56,000.
“We have submitted it to the secretariat of the tripartite committee. The review is in conjunction with the TUC. You can’t do it alone, all of us met and decided to put heads together and look at the realities on the ground.”
When confronted with reports that indicate that the new minimum wage may not be paid this year as it was not captured in the 2018 budget, Mr. Mohammed said President Muhammadu Buhari is committed to implementing the outcomes of the ongoing negotiations for new wages for workers.
He said this is the reason why the government would implement the recommendations of the tripartite committee on minimum wage.
“Who made the budget? I believe if they (government) are serious, we can finish this matter towards the middle of this year, June, July.
“If we can finish at that time, then before the end of the year, certainly the President must send whatever we agreed to the National Assembly for them to look at it and for him to ascent to it as a law. But I know that once we agreed, the government would implement whatever is agreed,” the acting NLC chairman said.
Mohammed, however, lamented the slow pace of negotiations by the tripartite committee. He also said that the committee had not held any meetings since the inaugural meeting.
“We had an inaugural meeting and they have not called for a meeting. I won’t call it a deliberate delay, but it looks as if there is a deliberate delay. We have not started discussion or anything,” he said.