The agitation for an upward review of the national minimum wage by workers from N18,000 to N56,000 may never see the light of day as the federal government is yet to initiate a dialogue with members of the organised labour.
According to the Secretary General of the Nigerian Labour Congress, Dr. Peter Ozo-Eson, the Federal Government is yet to formally ask concerned labour partners to send their representatives to the tripartite committee which will appoint a chairman.
He however noted that nothing can be done until the federal government makes an invitation to discuss further on the proposed minimum wage.
It could be recalled that the Ayuba Wabba faction of the Nigerian Labour Congress,(NLC) and Trade Union Congress (TUC) have jointly proposed a review of the minimum wage to 56,000.
The minimum wage is due for review every five years and the last review of the national minimum wage was done in 2011 which raised the current national minimum wage to N18, 000.
Mr. Wabba said both the NLC and the TUC made the formal demand on the proposed national minimum wage to the Federal Government.
“I can say now authoritatively that we made a formal proposal to the Federal Government of N56, 000 to be the new minimum wage.
“The demand has been submitted officially to government and we hope that the tripartite system to look at the review will actually be put set up to look at it.
“Our argument is that, yes, it is true that the economy is not doing well, but the law stated that wages for workers must be reviewed after every five years.
“So, the issue must be looked into by the Federal Government and workers should not be seen as sleeping on their rights,” he said.
He said it was imperative that the government should set up the tripartite committee for the review of the new minimum wage.
Mr. Wabba said this was the only way the representatives of unions and government would fashion out the negotiation process at a roundtable.
According to him, the logic behind the new minimum wage is to ensure that no worker earns below what can sustain him or her for a period of 30 days.
“So, it also about the law of the review of the wage, the law envisaged that within a circle of five years, there must be a review,” Mr. Wabba said.
Mr. Wabba called on the government to ensure that the issue of the national minimum wage was urgently taken on board as way of fighting corruption in the country.
He said if employers failed to cater for their workers’ welfare adequately, it would be difficult for such an employer to fight corruption.
The NLC president said workers needed to be empowered financially to have the purchasing power to buy what they would need to survive.