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EXTRA: New minimum wage should be N1m, says Ajaero

EXTRA: New minimum wage should be N1m, says Ajaero
February 12
16:07 2024

Joe Ajaero, president of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), says the new minimum wage for workers should be N1 million.

Speaking in an interview on Arise Television on Sunday, the NLC president said the demand is a reflection of galloping inflation in the country and the depreciation of the naira.

“This N1 million may be relevant if the value of the Nigerian (naira) continues to depreciate and if the inflation is not checked because the demand of labour is equally dependent on what is happening in the society,” Ajaero said.

“You will remember that by the time we were contemplating N200,000, the exchange rate was about N800/N900. As we talk today, the exchange rate is about N1,400 or even more.

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“Those are the issues that determine the demand and it is equally affecting the cost of living. And we had always said it that our demand will be based on cost of living index.

“You will agree with me today that even a bag of rice is going for about N60,000/N70,000 or more. A bag of even locally produced corn is about N56,000 or more.

“Foodstuff is getting out of reach. Now are we going to get a minimum wage that will not be enough for transportation even for one week?

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“You have to factor in all these issues and that will determine the federal government’s commitment to this negotiation.

“It is not just that they want to give us minimum wage. The old minimum wage will be expiring by April and ordinarily, the federal government ought to have set up a committee six months before that time so that negotiation would have commenced.

“It appears we are going to work within one month or two to agree on a figure and I doubt how those ones are going to… especially when you look at the people that the federal government assembled as members of the committee.”

FG RELEASING GRAINS TO CUSHION HARDSHIP AN INSULT TO NIGERIANS

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On February 8, President Bola Tinubu directed the immediate release of 42,000 metric tons of assorted food items from the strategic reserves and the Rice Millers Association of Nigeria as a short-term response to the rising food shortage in the country.

Reacting, Ajaero described the move by the federal government as “an insult to Nigerians”.

“I feel sad when we talk of federal government giving people grains as if we are giving grains to pigeons and all these other birds,” he said.

“At this time and age in Nigeria, we are talking of federal government providing how many tons of grains to Nigerians as a measure of stemming the level of hunger and poverty in the country.

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“I beg to disagree that that is a serious insult to Nigerians. I think that we should think of something else.”

On Thursday, the NLC and Trade Union Congress (TUC) gave the federal government a 14-day ultimatum to address the rising cost of living in the country.

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The labour unions also accused the government of neglecting the welfare of workers.

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