The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and the Trade Union Congress of Nigeria (TUC), on Thursday demanded that the Minimum Wage Act should be amended every five years.
Ms Agnes Sessi, Chairman, Political Committee, States’ Chapter of the NLC, made this demand while presenting the memoranda of the NLC and the TUC in Lagos.
Sessi spoke at the Public Hearing on the National Minimum Wage for Nigerian Workers, organised by the Tripartite Committee of the National Minimum Wage for South-West Zone, at Alausa, Ikeja.
According to her, the NLC and the TUC want to ensure that Nigeria law follows the best international practices, which recommended that the minimum wage law should apply to all workers.
“The best practices apply to all workers and not to establishments with 50 workers and above, as contained in the present Act, as amended in 2011,’’ Sessi said.
She said the review of the minimum wage would boost aggregate demand, which would further provide a boost to the economy, coming out of recession.
The chairman, political committee, also said that an enhanced minimum wage financed by increased taxation on the rich and luxury goods would promote equity and growth in the economy.
“The current wage structure of N18, 000 cannot sustain any worker at this critical period in the nation’s history.
“The two labour centres have agreed that there is an urgent need to review upward the minimum wage to meet current economic realities, to lift a pool of the working class out of the poverty and to bring it in conformity with the International Labour Organisation (ILO) standards,’’ she said.
Sessi said based on the current realities, the two labour centres “demand for a new monthly national minimum wage of N66,500’’.
She said that the proposed wage was approximately the average of the implied minimum wages derived under three approaches.
“On a comparative analysis based on Minimum Wages in some African countries, an estimate of the monthly minimum cost of providing basic needs to a family of six and two dependents and an analysis based on rising cost of living over time.’’
Mr Akeem Kazeem, state chairman, Association of Senior Civil Servants, said the association was in agreement with the demand for N66, 500 as the new national minimum wage.
Kazeem said that the upward review was long overdue because the current pay structure in the country had become unrealistic and inadequate, saying that workers could no longer meet their basic needs.
“We are in total support of the demand for the sum of N66, 500 for a salary of GL 01, Step 1 Officer, as requested by Organised Labour.
“The N18,000 which is currently being paid as the minimum salary in the civil service is grossly inadequate,’’ he said.