Why labour should review stance on minimum wage — Tripartite Committee


The Tripartite Committee on National Minimum Wage has given reasons why the organised labour should have a rethink on the amount it is demanding as minimum wage.

Alhaji Goni Aji, the chairman of the committee said this in Abuja on Sunday.

The organised labour is demanding N250, 000 as minimum wage per month.

But the Federal Government and Organised Private Sector have offered N62,000 per month.

Goni said that the labour should reconsider its stance based on economic considerations and non-monetary incentives which the Federal Government had so far provided for workers.

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He listed such incentives to include the N35,000 wage award for all treasury-paid federal workers, N100 billion for the procurement of gas fuelled buses and conversion to gas kits.

Others include the N125 billion conditional grant, financial inclusion to small and medium scale enterprises and the N25,000 each to be shared to 15 million households for three months, according to him.

He also cited the N185 billion palliative loans to states to cushion the effects of fuel subsidy removal and the N200 billion to support the cultivation of hectares of land to boost food production.

He said that there was another N75 billion to strengthen the manufacturing sector and N1 trillion for student loans for higher education.

He explained that the release of 42,000 metric tonnes of grains from strategic reserves and the purchase and onward distribution of 60,000 metric tonnes of rice to the millers association.

Goni stated that the recent salary increase of 25 per cent and 35 per cent on all consolidated salary structures for federal workers and the 90 per cent subsidy on health costs for federal civil servants registered on health insurance programmes.

All these, he said, should be considered by the labour unions and accept the N62, 000 being offered by the Federal Government.

He said that the light rail commissioned in Abuja was to relieve transportation cost until the end of the year was a landmark achievements that would cushion the effect of fuel subsidy.

He said in addition to the freedom of civil servants to engage in agriculture, the Federal Government has approved the inclusion of ICT services for alternate sources of income.

He said the committee agreed that where major and small businesses were closing down with consequent loss of jobs, the outcome of a new minimum wage should be such that it would not trigger further massive job losses.

He further said that linking the strike to electricity hikes with the wage determination was not fair to the negotiating parties.

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