The Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) has said that workers in the country will not have the patience to wait till the third quarter of the year for the implementation of a new minimum wage.
President Muhammadu Buhari had last November inaugurated the tripartite committee headed by former minister of Housing, Ms Amal Pepple to negotiate the N56,000 new minimum wage for workers.
Speaking to LEADERSHIP Friday, NLC president, Ayuba Wabba said workers expect the committee to be done with its job as soon as possible.
He said, "Whatever needs to be done, we need to do it in a very short period of time to be able to get the minimum wage approved to workers. Because we also realise the tendency of it taking longer time and people will go and relax. Then at the eve of expiration, people will now come back to request for extension. We will not be part of that arrangement. Our own is that every social partner must play its role effectively to make sure that we save time and within the shortest possible time, let's get this thing to the workers.
"We will not wait for any third quarter. With what is happening, it is very clear that the purchasing power of workers have been reduced to virtually nothing. Look at what happened just towards the end of last year, regarding petroleum pricing and scarcity. This certainly is a major factor in determining the wages of workers. Because transport is a major factor, rent is a major factor. Above all, cost of goods is a major factor and all of this will be affected once this important commodity is affected.
"Clearly, there is no way we will be patient to be waiting without this issue being sorted out. This has been our position as NLC."
Wabba said NLC has been part of minimum wage negotiations since 1980 and is familiar with the processes.
He said, "The issue of minimum wage is something we as organised labour have participated over the years, so we know the process and the timeline we need to set for ourselves. After the inauguration, a meeting was held and all members of the committee were distributed into sub-committees where they are expected to work on all the variables. And we have giving timeline for ourselves"
He said further, "You need empirical data to be able to advance argument. But importantly arrive at a figure that will address the huge gaps between what is the purchasing power of the worker and what is the current minimum wage. Those factors need to be considered. So, the first meeting took care of all of that. All committees were put in place. Not only that, after even the committees, a letter came in immediately before the end of the year.