The National Labour Congress (NLC) has said its minimum wage demands may rise to N1 million per month if economic woes persist.
NLC President Joe Ajaero made the disclosure during an interview on Arise TV on Sunday, citing worsening inflation and currency depreciation as key drivers.
He said: “This N1 million may be relevant if the value of the Naira continues to depreciate; if the inflation continues to depreciate. The demand of Labour is equally dependent on what is happening in the society.
“You will remember that by the time we were contemplating N200,000, the exchange rate was about N900. As we talk today, the exchange rate is about N1,400 or even more.
“Those are the issues that determine the demand and it is equally affecting the cost of living and we have always said it that our demand will be based on the cost of living index.
“You’ll agree with me that a bag of rice is about N60,000 to N70,000. Foodstuff is getting out of reach. Now, are we going to get a minimum wage that will not be enough for transportation even for one week?
“We have to factor in all these issues. And that will determine the federal government commitment to these negotiations,” he said
Ajaero’s comments come amid looming strike threats. The organised labour, including the NLC and Trade Union Congress (TUC), is set to meet with the federal government today to discuss resolutions following a 14-day strike warning. The unions accuse the government of failing to honour previous agreements, including temporary wage awards for workers.
He said: “Only one month of the N35,000 naira was paid to civil servants. Also, there is no evidence of payment of any N25,000 paid as palliative to workers. That’s what led to what’s happening in the humanitarian ministry.
“No farmer has come to say that he received fertilizers from the government. I don’t know whether the fertilizers are for sale, or for cultivation,” he added.
The current minimum wage in the country stands at N30,000, with an additional N35,000 temporary award for federal workers implemented in October 2023. However, this award was only meant to last six months.