Minimum wage: Group calls for compromise between labour and government

NLC president Ayuba Wabba:

Some Nurses under the ageis of University Graduates of Nursing Science Association (UGONSA) have called for a compromise between the Federal Government and the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) over the new minimum wage.

Speaking through their National Secretary, Mr Goodluck Nshi, they said an amicable resolution of the disagreement would enable workers and government focus on their primary duties of forging the country forward in view of the enormous challenges.

Nshi, who spoke to News Agency of  Nigeria (NAN) on Tuesday in Abakaliki, said they were of the view that though it was good to index minimum wage against cost of living , both the Federal Government and NLC should appreciate the fact that issues on minimum wage and standard of living, were knotty.

They therefore called for a deeper understanding of the factors at play, which is necessary in finding a more encompassing solution to the impasse.

They recalled that in the year 2011 when minimum wage was increased from N7,500 to N18,000, the N18,000 amounted to $112 USD at the then exchange rate of N160 per dollar.

“Today, at the rate of N360 per dollar, the N30, 000 minimum wage amounts to $83 USD.

“Therefore, even with N30, 000 minimum wage, it is understandable that there are still gross marginal wage deficits if wages in 2019 are compared with what they were in the year 2011 in US dollars.

“This notwithstanding, it is also understandable that prices of commodities are higher today than they were in the year 2011.

“On the other hand, the price of crude oil (which is the mainstay of our economy) has dropped from $110 per barrel that it sold in the year 2011, to around $60 per barrel in the year 2019.

“This represents about 45% reduction in government revenue from what it used to be in 2011, when compared to what it is in the current year.

“These factors need to be considered by both Federal Government and the organized labour for the necessary compromise to be made to move the country forward,” they said