Inflation: Value of N30, 000 minimum wage already eroded, says TUC …Insists new wage translates to N50/meal for family of six
BY FRANCIS EZEM
Trade Union Congress of Nigeria, TUC, Wednesday, raised serious concerns over the possibility of workers benefitting optimally from the N30, 000 new minimum wage, saying that its value has already been eroded before implementation due to the rising inflation rates.
The group therefore insists that the N30, 000 monthly new National Minimum Wage that the Federal and some state Governments are very reluctant to pay actually translates to less than N50 per meal per person per day for a family of six exclusive of utility bills, school fees, among others.
According to a joint statement signed by its President and Secretary General, Bobboi Kaigama and Musa-Lawal Ozigi, TUC, the umbrella body for senior staff associations in the country however said the new wage would in no small measure give the workers a sense of belonging by increasing their purchasing power
The TUC however commended the Senate for aligning with the House of Representatives in passing the National Minimum Wage Bill of N30, 000 monthly as recommended by the Tripartite Committee set up by the Federal Government.
“While the organised labour appreciates the approval of the new wage, it is also instructive to note that inflation has seriously affected its purchasing power, as prices of commodities went up even when employers have yet to commence payment. The N30, 000 monthly National Minimum Wage that we are even asking for actually translates to less than N50 per meal per person per day to a family of six. This is exclusive of utility bills, school fees, among several other items of expenditure in a family.
“Given our extended family system as Africans we are also expected to once in a while extend hands of fellowship to parents, in-laws, relations, friends who have lost their jobs, brothers and people of the same faith. We recall that some lawmakers promised to give the wage bill supersonic attention whenever it was brought before them and they have kept to their word. To us it means we still have men and women with milk of kindness left in them.”
“We therefore, call on the 9th Assembly and well-meaning Nigerians to prevail on governors to pay workers their salaries and pension as and when due to avoid crisis in the industrial sector. The workers have endured enough, after all. We warned those who feel they cannot pay the new wage to stay away from politics. And for those claiming that it is only when VAT is increased government can pay, we advise them to drop such evil counsel.
“Nevertheless, TUC appreciates the Federal Government, lawmakers and Nigerian Employers Consultative Association, NECA, for seeing reason with the workers”, the statement said.
Recall that the Senate had Tuesday passed the N30, 000 New Minimum Wage Bill, earlier passed by the House of Representatives, which would be transmitted to President Muhammadu Buhari for assent.