[Abuja]–The President of the Nigeria Labour Congress,(NLC) Ayuba Wabba, has insisted that N56,000 being demanded by congress was not out of place, adding that private and public employers in the country were convinced that the N18,000 national minimum wage was no longer realistic, considering the present socio-economic situation and high cost of living in the country.
His statement came a few days after the Technical Committee on Minimum Wage submitted its report.
Speaking after at the send-forth ceremony of the immediate past President-General of Maritime Workers Union of Nigeria, MWUN, Wabba argued that despite apparent opposition by private employers, represented by Nigerian Employers Consultative Association, (NECA) NLC was sure that stakeholders would all support a new wage for workers who had all along been treated as slaves.
He said, “We need to be very forthcoming in doing what is right. In other quarters, if you listen very carefully, they are talking about ability to pay. I thought what labour did was to be very calculative. Not only that, to look at the feasibility, because it doesn’t make sense that at the end of the day we will have difficulties.”
“So, we have looked at the totality of the issues, including the challenges we are going through at the moment and we thought that what we have done is reasonable because what we have done is to look at what is the value of N18, 000 when it was signed looking at the inflation, looking at the purchasing power and looking at the ability to pay.
“So, I think we have been reasonable in making such demand and we hope also that other social partners will look at it from the perspective of us being very nationalistic in putting up those demands,”he added.
Speaking on the condition of workers in the country, Wabba noted some workers can not feed their families and perform other duties due to high cost of living and low wages.
“Many workers cannot send their children to school, many cannot pay their rent, and many cannot even go to work regularly. Side by side with fighting corruption, if you don’t pay me to meet up with my bills we can’t fight corruption.
“What is the cost of living that will make me comfortable as a worker for 30 days with my family? All of us can reason and calculate all of that. All of you are workers and therefore, we can know all of these,” Wabba said.
Speaking further, the NLC President said that “workers have been pushed to the wall so, it’s time for the minimum wage to be reviewed both in law and practice.”Please Follow Us @ThePageNg