The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) has called on the Federal Government to reconstitute a tripartite committee to negotiate a new minimum wage for workers. NLC President, Comrade Ayuba Wabba, told The Nation that the developments in the economy, which have made nonsense of the purchasing power of the workers, had made a new minimum wage inevitable.
“When the 2011 National Minimum Wage Act was being signed, all the tripartite partners were in agreement that this would be negotiated after every five years. So, the five-year time-frame is here.
“We hope that we will not be pushed into taking action that would be costly for the economy, which is already in deeply troubled as it were. Our standpoint is that any of the parties to the negotiation who may have reasons why we shouldn’t have a new minimum wage should bring those arguments to the negotiation table,” he said.
Wabba said the major cause of the economic crisis was the irresponsible mismanagement of the economy over the years by political leaders.
“The way corruption was allowed to eat into virtually every fibre of our national life by the governing class across the political spectrum meant that in due time, we would find ourselves in the mess we are currently today,” Wabba said.
Wabba said manufacturers had stories of woe to tell about the fall in capacity utilisation caused by the difficulties in obtaining foreign exchange to import vital raw materials.
He said a larger portion of the forex demand was for the importation of refined products.
“We know because the leadership of the unions in the manufacturing sector has approached us several times to engage powers that be at the federal level on the consequences of government policies that had increased the problem of scarcity of forex for manufacturing purposes,” Wabba added.