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NLC demands N794,000 minimum wage for workers in South West

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The Nigeria Labour Congress has demanded N794,000 as the new national minimum wage for workers in the South West geopolitical zone.

The labour union in the South West, through the chairperson of the Lagos State chapter of the NLC, Funmi Sessi, made the demand during her presentation at the a public hearing of the Tripartite Committee on National Minimum Wage in Ikeja, Lagos on Thursday.

Sessi noted that the demand was jointly agreed upon by all the members of the union in the South West.

President Bola Tinubu, through Vice President Kashim Shettima, inaugurated a 37-member panel on the new minimum wage in the Council Chamber of the State House in Abuja on January 30, 2024.

Sessi stated, “The national minimum wage is an issue that directly affects the livelihood of Nigerian workers. The minimum wage is the baseline level of income that workers are expected to earn and has far-reaching implications for economic growth, inequality, and social welfare.

“This is a starvation wage. The workers in the country deserve a living wage that will be set at a level that is fair and commensurate with the economic realities.

“On the issue of food, with the recent increase in the cost of food items, each person will have to spend about N1,000 on breakfast, lunch, and dinner because a scoop of cooked rice is now N400. So if we have to eat two scoops of rice with a small piece of meat, which is now N200, that’s about N1,000.

“For breakfast, lunch, and dinner, if we had a total of these for each member of a family of six, that is about N3,000 per day. This is N3,000 multiplied by six and by 30 days, making about N540,000 for feeding. This is what we are asking the Federal Government.

“On housing and rent, we are asking for N200,000 per month, which amounts to about N2.4m less N100000 for N2.5m when you want to rent decent housing within Lagos metropolis and likewise other states in the southwest region. After the removal of the subsidy, it’s like the landlord association held a meeting to increase house rent across the region. We are asking for N200,000 per month for housing.”

However, the Osun State Governor, Ademola Adeleke, who represented the southwest governors, said the state government needed to be allowed to negotiate with workers on a sustainable minimum wage based on each state’s financial peculiarities.

He said, “While it will be desirable to see that a uniform minimum wage is agreed upon on a national basis, it will amount to self-deceit to assume that the state has equal ability to pay. To this effect, I will humbly advise that individual states will have to negotiate with their workers and agree to a realistic and sustainable minimum wage in line with the available resources.”

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