Labour Demands N400,000 As New Minimum Wage

The proposal was presented at a recent meeting of the National Public Service Negotiating Council, which is currently discussing a new national minimum wage.

Adoga Stephen By Adoga Stephen - Editor-In-Chief
4 Min Read

Organized labor in Nigeria has suggested a living wage of $300 for all workers. They believe that the current minimum wage of N30,000 is no longer enough due to inflation and the high cost of living.

The proposal was presented at a recent meeting of the National Public Service Negotiating Council, which is currently discussing a new national minimum wage.

Union representatives argue that the current wage does not cover basic needs, especially with the high exchange rate and the removal of fuel subsidies, which have significantly reduced purchasing power.

Comrade Benjamin Anthony, Chairman of the Trade Union Side of the Joint Meeting of the National Public Service Negotiating Council (JNPSNC), presented this position on Tuesday at the 2023 meetings of the Separate and Joint National Public Service Negotiating Council held in Goshen City, Nasarawa state.

He said: “As earlier stated, the time to review our Minimum Wage has come, in doing this; we must all agree that the current Minimum Wage of N30,000 has since been eroded by the high exchange rate coupled with the abrupt removal of fuel subsidy which has translated into high cost of living in the Country.

“There is no gainsaying that the cost of a bag of rice is far more than the so-called Minimum Wage, and to worsen the situation, the Government is not prompt in the payment of the collectively and freely agreed N35,000 Wage award.

“In light of the above, Labour has proposed a Living Wage of $300 for Nigerian Workers. This is due to the fall in the value of our currency, today if you carry N100,000 to the market you will come back with a leather bag of items.

“We call on Government to immediately pay the arrears of the N35,000 wage award along with the current and expedited action on the process of getting a new living wage to bring succour to the working class people,” he added.

Currently, based on the exchange rate of N1,482, the new minimum wage in Nigeria would be N444,600 per month for the lowest-paid worker. This is calculated using the exchange rate of the naira against the dollar on Tuesday, January 30, 2024.

Anthony, represented by the Secretary of the union, Comrade Boma Mohammed, expressed concern about the non-remittance of third-party deductions, such as cooperative and union dues. This has caused operational challenges for organizations, making it difficult to pay staff salaries, pensions, and insurance schemes. Anthony urged the government to release and disburse these funds promptly to help affected workers.

In response, Dr. Folasade Yemi-Esan, the Head of Civil Service of the Federation, emphasized the need for dialogue between organized labor and the government to promote peace and stability. This dialogue would ultimately enhance productivity in implementing government policies. Dr. Yemi-Esan also praised the positive outcomes of previous engagements and highlighted the theme of the current council meetings, which focuses on “Digitalization as an effective and efficient tool for service delivery in the Public Service.” The aim is to improve performance in the workplace.

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By Adoga Stephen Editor-In-Chief
Stephen studied Mass Communication at the Lagos State Polytechnic, Ikorodu (now Lagos State University of Science and Technology), where he acquired requisite training for the practice of journalism. He loves the media, and his interest mostly lies in print medium, where his creative writing skill makes him a perfect fit.