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Labour Day: FG’s 35% pay rise mischievous – NLC

… TUC says increase in the minimum wage is justified, can’t worsen inflation

 

The 35 per cent pay rise of the federal government civil servants is said to be mischievous.

 

The president of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Joe Ajaero, who so opined while speaking during an interview on Channels Television on Wednesday maintained that a living wage should be N615, 000.

Recall that the federal government approved a pay rise of between 25 and 35 percent for civil servants across various consolidated salary structures on Tuesday.

Ajaero said the last minimum wage of N30,000 expired on April 18.

He said, “We should be in the regime of new minimum wage as of today. Discussions were supposed to have been concluded.

“The federal government through the national assembly legislated on it. But we saw that the discussion entered voice mail because the federal government refused to reconvene the meeting that was adjourned.

“I think the announcement now appears mischievous because there is no wage increase that government is announcing. For them to announce it now, it is an issue that we are worried about at the NLC and even at the TUC.”

Ajaero said the organised labour has agreed on N615,000 as the living wage for civil servants.

The NLC leader said, “Living wage is such that will, at least keep you alive. It is not a wage that will make you poor and poorer. It is not a wage that will make you borrow to go to work. It is not a wage that will lead you to be in the hospital everyday because of malnutrition. For that living wage, we have tried to look at N615,000.

“Let me give you a breakdown of how we arrived at that figure. We have housing and accommodation of N40,000. We asked for electricity of N20,000 — of course that was before the current tariff increase. Nobody can spend this amount currently. We have utility that is about N10,000. We looked at kerosene and gas that is about N25,000 to N35,000.

“We looked at food for a family of six, that is about N9,000 in a day. For 30 days, that is about N270,000. Look at medical, N50,000 provided there will be no surgery or whatever.

“For clothing, we looked at N20,000. For education, N50,000. I don’t know for those who tried to put their children in private school, they will not be able to cope with this amount. We also have sanitation of N10,000.

“I think where we have another bulk of the money is transportation. This is because the workers stay in the fringes and because of the cost of PMS, that amounted to N110,000.

“That brought the whole living wage to N615,000 and I want anyone to subject this to further investigation and find out whether there will be any savings when you pay somebody on this rate.”

Meanwhile, the President of Trade Union Congress, TUC, Festus Osifo speaking on Channels Television also said increasing the minimum wage for civil servants will not worsen inflation.

Osifo said the increase in the minimum wage is justified because of the increased revenue allocation to states since May 2023.

He said, “If you look today, from May 2023 to date, revenue from the Federation Accounts Allocation Committee (FAAC) to the state governments has tripled,” he said.

“This means the state government has more money to build roads and schools to purchase other items.

“The most critical aspect of production is labour. It is for you to take part of the money and pay workers. That won’t increase inflation because the money will be spent anyway; if you don’t give it to workers, it will be spent on other projects.

“Giving workers what is due them won’t necessarily worsen inflation,” he said.

This comes amid the economic hardship occasioned by removal of subsidy on petrol and unification of the exchange rate windows.

Recall that the federal government approved an increase of between 25 percent and 35 percent salary increase for civil servants on the six consolidated salary structures.

In January, the government had set up a 37-member tripartite committee on the minimum wage, after which the organised labour submitted a demand of N615,000 as the new minimum wage for workers.

The labour union had urged the government to announce the new minimum wage on Workers’ Day.

 

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