2018 Nigerian Workers Day:Discourse on the Proposed New Minimum Wage

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Tuesday, May 01, 2018 1:25PM / Proshare WebTV  

Today is the 2018 workers day, celebrated in over 100 countries that are members of the International Labour Organization (ILO), which covers the public and private sectors. 

Across the globe one of the key issues at the front burner of Labour unions, is the minimum wage. 

Recently in South Africa the leading Trade Union led protests  over the 20 rand ($1.60) an hour minimum wage, which they described as “starvation wages”. 

The South African Trade Unions are seeking  for 12,500 rand ($1,000) living wage to replace the hourly wages, which has prompted a meeting of President Cyril Ramaphosa and the Labour Ministry. 

In Nigeria, the minimum wage issue has been a key thrust of negotiations between Labour and the Government. 

Currently the Nation’s minimum wage is N18,000.00 ($50) and is long overdue for review since 2011. 

It is 7 years now and the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) is proposing a new minimum wage of N65,000 ($150). 

A major challenge on the minimum wage issue is the legacy of unpaid salaries of workers by States across the country. 

So far President Muhammadu Buhari has inaugurated a committee on the minimum wage to engage the Labour unions. 

The 2016 recession dampened the purchasing power parity of Nigerians, including workers and with a recovery already at the moment, the justification for minimum wage review is key considering the economic realities. 

In a recent interview with notable economist Dr Ayo Teriba the key word for the negotiations is “collective bargaining”, which is critical for the economy. 

From the Government to Labour, national interest, welfare of the workers and the growth of the economy is key to the negotiations which must also come with “trade-offs”. 

How the negotiations flow in the days to come will be vital and Nigerians will expect a realistic minimum wage that will be sustainable for the next five years for the Federal, State and Local Governments.

Proshare Nigeria Pvt. Ltd.

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