By Victor Ahiuma-Young & Ehi Eweka
THE Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC, faction led by Joe Ajaero, has said labour will not sign any agreement on a new minimum wage that will not be implementable.
Ajaero, who said this at an interactive session with journalists in Lagos, insisted that the ability to pay the proposed new wage was the purpose of any minimum wage agreement, saying “no labour leader will sign an agreement that cannot be realistic.”
According to him, since his faction proposed N90, 000 while the Ayuba Wabba-led group demanded for N56, 000, government had the prerogative to come out with its own position, stressing: “If the government comes out with its position, we, the labour movement can crosscheck and counter it, if necessary, before the agreement is signed.”
The factional president contended that the N90.000 minimum wage his faction proposed was based on the economic index and that during negotiation, all issues including ability to pay and security of employment would be looked into.
Ajaero said there would be a sub-committee that would look into an increase in wages for the manufacturing sector, to enable it to be able to cater for the welfare of employees in the sector.
According to him, “From what has happened (fuel price hike), we can see that N56, 000 is not realistic. If we are talking about a certain percentage of inflation given all other indices, now it has worsened and has sky rocketed. But N90, 000 is still realistic if we take other factors into consideration.
”If the exchange rate remains the same, and its effect is only on fuel and maybe people selling garri will change. But if it increases you will discover that the N90, 000 minimum wages will be messed up, so we are just taking N90,000 in isolation.”