NLC Consider N1 Million Minimum Wage

by Ohepo Ohepo

Joe Ajaero, the head of the Nigeria Labour Congress, has indicated that organized labor might propose a minimum wage of up to N1 million for Nigerian workers if the current inflation trend continues unchecked.

Ajaero pointed out that the wage demand by labor groups will be influenced by the rising cost of living, which has significantly increased following President Bola Tinubu’s implementation of several economic policies, including the removal of the fuel subsidy.

On Thursday, the NLC and the Trade Union Congress (TUC) delivered a 14-day ultimatum to the Nigerian government, expressing their dissatisfaction with the government’s inaction on a 16-point agreement signed in October 2023. This agreement was intended to mitigate the severe hardships caused by increased petrol prices and the devaluation of the naira, which have contributed to the deepening economic difficulties and inflation.

Starting from Friday, February 9, 2024, the NLC and TUC have demanded that the government fulfill its obligations as agreed upon within 14 days.

In a conversation with Arise News on Sunday evening, Ajaero remarked, “The consideration for a N1 million minimum wage becomes relevant if the naira’s value keeps falling and if inflation continues to rise unabated. The labor demand correlates with societal conditions.

“When we considered proposing a N200,000 minimum wage, the exchange rate was around N800/N900 to a dollar. Currently, it has surged to about N1,400. These factors significantly impact the cost of living and, by extension, our wage demands. Considering the current prices, where a bag of rice is sold for around N60,000/N70,000 and a bag of locally produced corn is about N56,000, it’s clear that foodstuff prices are soaring. We must ensure that the proposed minimum wage is sufficient to cover at least basic transportation costs for a week.

“These considerations will shape the government’s approach to the negotiations. The existing minimum wage is due to expire by April, and typically, the government should have initiated discussions six months prior. However, it only recently set up a committee, which has yet to convene.

“The composition of the government’s negotiation team, which includes governors known for not implementing the

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