Nigerian workers agitating for minimum wage increment during the 2017 Worker’s Day celebration in Abuja on Monday (1/5/17).
02368/1/5/2017/Ernest Okorie/NAN

By Oladipupo Mojeed

The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) has defended the demand by workers for an increase in the minimum wage, saying it is modest and backed by law.

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Speaking with Channels Television, the NLC president, Ayuba Wabba, said this to mark the May Day celebrations.

“By law and practice, and through a collective bargaining process, government, employers of labour and organised labour as represented by TUC and NLC, have agreed that in every five years, we need to review the minimum wage because of a lot of factors – the cost of living, inflation and other factors that need to be considered.

“Therefore, it is due both by law and in practice. And it is a legitimate demand.”

Legitimate demand

Wabba also explained that it is because the demand is legitimate that all parties have not rejected it or called it frivolous.

“And that was why the tripartite team was constituted and now the negotiating team will be constituted,” he added.

The NLC president explained further that the demand was meant to take into consideration the impact of inflation on the current minimum wage.

“In fact, we are being very modest; we are trying to bring back the value of N18,000. At the time we signed the N18,000 minimum wage, which was (through) a tripartite process, the value was about $110.

“Today, what is the value of N18,000? It’s less than $40. This is the reality – inflation has actually taken (away) the impact and import of the increase.

“What we are merely doing, which I think is very modest and needs to be commended, is the fact that we are trying to bring back the value of N18,000. This is realistic.”