Ahead of negotiations for the payment of a new minimum wage scheduled to commence in April 2024, the organised labour has submitted a list of its representatives who will represent Nigerian workers on the negotiation panel which is set to be constituted by the Federal Government.
For a new minimum wage to be implemented, a tripartite committee is often set up by the Federal Government to ensure smooth negotiations.
For the committee set up by the administration of former President Muhammadu Buhari in 2019, the tripartite committee was headed by the then Head of Civil Service of the Federation, Ama Pepple.
The committee also had as some of its members, representatives of the organised labour, comprising the Nigeria Labour Congress and the Trade Union Congress, alongside officials of government and the private sector.
The PUNCH had earlier reported that the President Bola Tinubu administration in the 2024 budget proposed the sum of N1tn to cater to minimum wage adjustment and other expenses.
Though the amount would later be streamlined, government officials insisted that the minimum wage would align with the current standard of living in the country.
Since the abrupt removal of subsidy on Premium Motor Spirit, popularly known as petrol, by Tinubu during his May 29, 2023 inaugural speech which led to an unprecedented hike in cost of living, there have been calls for an increase in the minimum wage by the organised labour.
Though the government noted that negotiations were not yet ripe for a new minimum wage, it approved the sum of N35,000 monthly as wage award for workers pending the time when the new minimum wage would commence.nus
According to the Minister of Information and National Orientation, Muhammed Idris, the new minimum way will commence in April 2024.
Speaking with our correspondent over the telephone on Thursday, the Head of Information of the NLC, Benson Upah, said though the union was not aware of the constitution of a new minimum wage panel, the government asked that the organised labour send a list of its representatives.
“The Federal Government reached out to us to send in our nominees or names of those who would represent us on the committee late last year and we did comply promptly. However, I am not aware the committee has been constituted,” Upah said.
Similarly, TUC Vice President, Tommy Etim, said the unions were worried over the late constitution of the panel. He, however, assured Nigerians that “no stone would be left unturned to effectively negotiate with the government on the National Minimum Wage.”
Earlier in December 2023, the NLC said only an amount reflective of the current economic realities would be accepted.
The NLC President, Mr Joe Ajaero, stated this in Abuja at the 19th edition of the NLC 2023 Harmattan School.