By Abolaji Adebayo
The workers under the aegis of Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) have expressed optimism that the government would approve the minimum wage which could sustain average workers to take care of their daily needs as 30-member tripartite National Minimum Wage Committee is scheduled to be inaugurated on Monday.
Expressing their agitation for increased salary on Sunday, the labour leaders, who said the workers need ‘living wage’ but not minimum wage, believed that their demand earlier termed ‘minimum wage’ would be met, saying that the wage must be enough for the workers to enjoy their lives while working as it is obtained in other countries.
President Muhammdu Buhari, on Thursday, approved the appointment of a 30-member tripartite National Minimum Wage Committee for the negotiation of a new National Minimum Wage.
The labour leaders, who are members of the committee, spoke to journalists in Lagos ahead of the committee inauguration scheduled for Monday in Abuja.
The committee is made up of persons from the public sector (federal and state governments) and the private sector (members of the Nigeria Employers’ Consultative Association (NECA)).
The President, NLC, Ayuba Wabba, said their expectation was that the demand of labour would be met, maintaining that the labour group would discuss with open mind to ensure that it achieve its aims and objectives.
He said that the meeting with the tripartite committee would be a social dialogue and collective bargaining discussion.
According to him, the inauguration is long overdue and effort would be made to fast track negotiations to ensure that workers and pensioners get their accrued benefits.
He hinted that labour would discuss issues relating to rate of Naira because the present exchange rate had increased from the time N56,000 was being proposed by labour.
NLC General Secretary, Peter Ozo-Eson, also said that the committee would discuss many issues affecting the minimum wage and the way forward.
According to Ozo-Eson, it is over two years since the organised labour proposed N56,000 as minimum wage to the government; and so will consider a number of socio-economic indices to take its action.
He said that the organised labour was looking forward to the inauguration because the committee was made up of a tripartite group that would discuss issues affecting the Nigerian workers.
“We look forward to the inauguration which I believe will discuss the facts and economic realities when it starts negotiation.’’