The Nigeria Labour Congress says the commencement of negotiations for the new national minimum wage in 2024 will be based on the prevailing cost of living in the country.
Joe Ajaero, NLC president, said this at the ongoing 19th edition of the NLC 2023 Harmattan School, organised by the Congress on Tuesday in Abuja.
The school is part of the NLC schools, where it trains and empowers members of its affiliated unions through skill development.
Mr Ajaero, represented by Benjamin Anthony, NLC vice-president, said it was necessary for the government at all levels to recognise that life and living conditions are exceedingly difficult.
The NLC boss stated, “The removal of subsidies on petroleum products has further worsened the challenges faced by working people; that is unleashing severe pain and contributing to galloping inflation and increasing inequality and poverty.”
Mr Ajaero added, “We must reckon that a well-motivated and well-remunerated workforce has a positive impact on productivity and national development.
“As we anticipate the commencement of negotiations for the national minimum wage in 2024, we seek the understanding of all stakeholders to ensure that we use this opportunity to arrive at a minimum wage commensurate with the prevailing cost of living.”
He said the ultimate goal is to establish a living wage that covers the cost of living and make allowances for some savings by the workers.
Mr Ajaero explained that the recent assault on workers and their leaders in Imo poses a grave threat to freedom of association and collective bargaining.
“This is as enshrined in Section 40 of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as amended and the ILO Conventions 87 and 98 on Freedom of Association and Collective Bargaining.
“This should unequivocally be condemned by all people of goodwill. The only thing that can ease our pains is for the Imo government to address all labour issues. They are also to return the so-called ‘ghost workers’ to their jobs, pay all outstanding salaries and pensions, and call back all victimised workers to their jobs,” the labour leader explained.