NLC to propose N1 million as minimum wage for Nigerian workers, gives reason

Joe Ajaero, the president of the National Labour Congress (NLC), has hinted that the new minimum wage proposal can reach as high as N1 million per month if inflation and other economic indicators continue to worsen in the country. 

Ajaero made this disclosure in a statement yesterday while featuring in an interview on Arise TV.

According to the NLC president, the new minimum wage must reflect the economic conditions of the country, adding that as long as the Dollar keeps rising against the Naira the demands for a higher minimum wage will be inevitable.

Ajaero noted that the initial N200,000 minimum wage proposal is no longer tenable, citing the soaring price of food items and inflationary pressure in the economy.

“This N1 million may be relevant if the value of the Naira continues to depreciate; if the inflation continues to depreciate. 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, 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 it that our demand will be based on the cost of living index.

“You’ll agree with me that a bag of rice is about N60,000 to N70,000. 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?

“We have to factor in all these issues. And that will determine the federal government commitment to these negotiations,” he said

Ajaero said the organized labour is meeting with the federal government today to discuss resolutions around the pending strike warning issued by the NLC and TUC.

He also stated that the government have failed to keep most of its agreements with the union, particularly on the issue of temporal wage awards to workers.

According to Ajaero, only one month of N35,000 wage awards was paid to workers.

“Only one month of the N35,000 naira was paid to civil servants. Also, there is no evidence of payment of any N25,000 paid as palliative to workers. That’s what led to what’s happening in the humanitarian ministry.

“No farmer has come to say that he received fertilizers from the government. I don’t know whether the fertilizers are for sale, or for cultivation,” he added.

Presently, the Nigeria minimum wage is N30,000, although the federal government announced an additional N35,000 temporal wage awards for federal workers.

The wage award which took off in October 2023 was expected to last for at least six months.

The federal government is also setting up a presidential committee to review the new minimum wage. The committee is made up of stakeholders from organized unions, state governors as well as respected citizens.

Accordingly, organized labour issued a 14-day strike warning to the government to implement a new minimum wage plan in the country, adding that time is running out for more negotiations.