•Directs state councils to collate cost of living data
•FG’ll soon clear N35,000 wage award, says minister
Ahead of the new minimum wage negotiations, organised labour plans to demand wages based on the cost of living and other socio-economic indices across the country.
This came as the Federal Government has promised to clear arrears of the N35,000 wage award owed its workers.
Vanguard gathered that labour has been working round the clock to ensure that its wage demand can hardly be faulted by both government and private sector employers.
According to sources, organised labour’s demand will be guided and determined by the cost of living and other socioeconomic parameters across the country.
Consequently, to ensure that labour’s demand is data-based, instead of sentiments, Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC, has directed its state councils nationwide to collate the cost of living data in towns and local government areas in states.
To source such data, NLC has designed a data collection form for local governments and towns.
In a circular dated January 17, 2024, to the state councils, titled “National minimum wage negotiation- Data collection: Urgent action required”, NLC’s General Secretary, Emmanuel Ugboaja, wrote: “As we gear up for the forthcoming negotiations on a new national minimum wage, it is crucial that we gather accurate and comprehensive data on the average cost of living across our nation. State councils of the NLC have been identified as key players in this essential task.
“The success of our efforts in negotiating a fair and equitable national minimum wage depends significantly on the thoroughness and accuracy of the data we collect. Therefore, I am writing to urge your immediate attention and action in conducting the necessary research and collating vital information.
“To facilitate this process, please find attached two forms. The first form is designed for distribution around the towns and local government areas in your state. It is imperative that these forms are disseminated widely to ensure representation and inclusive data collection process.
“The second form is to be used for summarizing the analysis of collated data. This summarized information will be sent to the national headquarters where it will greatly assist the Congress’ National Minimum Wage Negotiating Council in its deliberations.
“In line with the urgency of this matter, we encourage you to leverage online platforms for efficient and streamlined data collection. This approach will not only expedite the process but also ensure the accuracy of the information gathered.
“We kindly request that your state councils commence this crucial task promptly and submit your findings to the national headquarters before the last day of this month, January 2024.
“Your dedication to this undertaking is invaluable, and we are confident that with your collaboration, we will contribute significantly to the success of the upcoming negotiations.”
Meanwhile, the Minister of State for Labour and Employment, Nkeiruka Onyejeocha, has said the Federal Government would soon pay the N35,000 wage award to its workers.
Speaking at separate meetings with the Trade Union Congress, TUC, and Congress of University Academics, CONUA, in Abuja on Wednesday, the minister said government was working to ensure it fulfilled its promises to labour.
She said: The Federal Government is working round the clock to ensure that agreements with trade unions are fulfilled. I am here specifically to reassure you that we have not forgotten about the agreements between the government and trade unions.
”Thank God you have confirmed that the Federal Government has started paying the N35,000 wage award, and I can assure you that the payment is on course and the outstanding amount will be paid within a short period of time.”