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Living Wage Should Be ₦615,000, FG’s 35% Pay Increase Mischievous — Ajaero

The NLC boss said the last minimum wage of N30,000 expired on April 18 and “we should be in the regime of new minimum wage as of today".


Labour leaders Festus Osifo (second left) and Joe Ajaero (second right) at the 2024 Workers’ Day in Abuja

 

 

The President of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Joe Ajaero, has described as mischievous, the salary increase of between 25% and 35% for civil servants announced on Tuesday by the Federal Government. 

“The announcement appears mischievous because there is no wage increment that government is announcing,” Ajaero said on Channels Television’s Sunrise Daily programme on Wednesday as workers around the world mark the 2024 Workers’ Day.

 

 

A spokesperson for the National Salaries, Incomes and Wages Commission (NSIWC), Emmanuel Njoku, on Tuesday, had said the increment takes effect from January 1st, 2024.

The Salary Structure includes the Consolidated Public Service Salary Structure (CONPSS), Consolidated Research and Allied Institutions Salary Structure (CONRAISS), Consolidated Police Salary Structure (CONPOSS), Consolidated Para-military Salary Structure (CONPASS), Consolidated Intelligence Community Salary Structure (CONICCS) and Consolidated Armed Forces Salary Structure (CONAFSS).

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

READ ALSO: Increasing Minimum Wage Won’t Worsen Inflation, Says TUC

Earlier in January, the Federal Government inaugurated a 37-man Tripartite Committee on National Minimum Wage with a mandate to recommend a new National Minimum Wage for the country but the recommendations of the committtee have not been implemented by the government.

He said the current minimum wage of N30,000 can no longer cater for the wellbeing of an average Nigerian worker, lamenting that not all governors are paying the current wage award which expired in April, five years after the Minimum Wage Act of 2019 was signed by former President Muhammadu Buhari. The Act is to be reviewed every five years to meet up with contemporary economic demands of workers.

 

L-R: Labour Minister Nkiruka Onyejeocha, NLC President Joe Ajaero, Vice President Kashim Shettima, and TUC boss, Festus Osifo in Abuja on May 1, 2024

Breakdown Of N615,000 Living Wage

Ajaero further said the Organised Labour has agreed on N615,000 as the living wage for civil servants.

He 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.”