The President of the Nigeria Labour Congress, Joe Ajaero, has stated that organized Labour may be forced to push for a new minimum wage of N1 million for Nigerian civil servants if the ongoing inflation is not effectively addressed and nipped in the bud.
Ajaero said this while appearing on Arise TV. According to him, the demand from organised labour would be influenced by the cost of living which has been increasing since President Bola Tinubu assumed office, notably due to the removal of fuel subsidy and other policies.
“This N1 million may be relevant if the value of the Nigerian (naira) continues to depreciate; if the inflation continues unchecked because the demand of 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 are going to work within one month or two to agree on a figure and I doubt how those ones are going to”