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Next Minimum Wage Discussions With FG to Mirror Rising Living Cost, NLC Insists

Against the backdrop of a rising cost of goods and services in Nigeria, the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) is gearing up for negotiations on the next national minimum wage in 2024. NLC President Joe Ajaero stressed the need for the new wage to reflect the current cost of living, especially following the removal of the fuel subsidy by the federal government.

Addressing participants at the 19th edition of the NLC’s Harmattan School in Abuja, Ajaero emphasized the challenging conditions faced by workers, both in the formal and informal sectors, due to the subsidy removal contributing to inflation and growing inequality.

As negotiations approach, Ajaero called for a minimum wage commensurate with the cost of living, ensuring that workers can cover their basic needs and save. He highlighted the impact of neoliberal economic policies since the mid-1980s, leading to disruptions in social services and increased collaboration needed for sustained policy engagement with governments at all levels.

The NLC’s General Secretary, Emma Ugboaja, echoed the challenges faced by workers, expressing concern over the delay in salary payments for federal workers. He emphasized the unusual nature of salary payments becoming bargaining issues and stressed the importance of combating these challenges collectively.

The theme of this year’s Harmattan School, “Building Workers Skills for Policy Engagement,” aligns with the NLC’s commitment to enhancing workers’ capacity for effective participation. Ugboaja noted the financial constraints limiting international participation in this year’s school due to the fuel subsidy removal.

Vanessa Phala, the Country Director of the International Labour Organisation (ILO), encouraged active participation from the NLC and other trade unions in policy dialogue. She highlighted key priorities such as productivity growth, skills development, social protection coverage, gender equality, and the reduction of inequalities, emphasizing the NLC’s demonstrated commitment to engaging on these issues.

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