NLC cautions against epileptic implementation of minimum wage

The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) has cautioned employers of labour against haphazard implementation of the minimum wage as well as the consequential details.

Congress President, Ayuba Wabba, who handed down the warning in Abuja, lauded Nigerians for their patience and understanding while the negotiations lasted.

He also reserved special recognition for members of Joint National Public Service Negotiating Council (JNPSNC) – Trade Union Side – for leading the process creditably.

Wabba lambasted those who he accused of pursuing different agenda that is at variance with the generality of the working people.

He explained that negotiated salary adjustment will benefit all categories of workers including those in the military and para-military services.

He added that apart from workers, the recent salary increase will also benefit ordinary citizens especially those in the informal sector as the increase in the available disposable income of workers will translate into a stronger purchasing power for our people.

For the working class to reap the benefit of the new wage floor, Wabba appealed to traders and service providers to refrain from arbitrary price increment that is likely to erode the gain of the upward salary movement.

His words: “This will however only be sustainable if traders and providers of essential services refrain from artificial inflation of the prices of goods and services. It makes more sense to sell more at a stable price than sell little or nothing at inflated prices. Certainly, we have learnt from our past mistakes that inflation of prices with adjustment in salaries is a roulette game in which the downtrodden masses are the victims.”

Also, Wabba urged government not to introduce policies that will erode the increment in workers salaries, saying, “we also call on government to refrain from introducing counter-productive economic policies and decisions that would erode the recent wage gain achieved by workers. Any further increase in the prices of petroleum products, electricity tariff and personal income taxes would amount to collecting with the left hand what is given to workers with the right hand. The leadership of organized labour will resist such move.”

He also urged all employers to set machineries in motion for the implementation of the new wages.

“Arising from our successful negotiation with the Federal Government, it is expected that all employers of labour in the public sector must ensure that all the necessary formalities for a smooth implementation of the negotiated salaries based on the new national minimum wage are carried out with immediate effect,” he stated.

While commending state governments that have already commenced implementation of the new national minimum wage, NLC urged that the implementation should be a product of collective bargaining process in line with ILO Convention 98 on Organizing and Collective Bargaining.

Wabba added: “Furthermore, all employers of labour in the thirty-six states of the federation and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) as well as the Organized Private Sector (OPS) are expected to complete the implementation process of the new national minimum wage and consequential wage adjustment forthwith.

He also directed state councils of the NLC to offer leadership and work harmoniously with the TUC and JNPSNC and all unions to ensure effective implementation of the new national minimum wage and the consequential salary adjustment that must be reached through a process of collective bargaining.

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