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Wednesday, May 22, 2024

Only a living wage of N615,000 can keep anyone alive -NLC

The President of Nigeria Labour Congress, Joe Ajaero, has criticised the Federal Government’s pay raise announcement, describing it as mischievous moves.

On Tuesday, the Federal Government approved a pay rise of between 25 and 35 per cent for civil servants across various consolidated salary structures.

Speaking on Wednesday [today] during an interview on Sunrise Daily, a Channels TV programme, Ajaero said the last minimum wage of N30,000 expired on April 18.

“We should be in the regime of new minimum wage as of today. Discussions were supposed to have been concluded.

“The Federal Government, through the National Assembly, legislated on it. But we saw that the discussion entered voice mail because the Federal Government refused to reconvene the meeting that was adjourned.

“I think the announcement now appears mischievous because there is no wage increase that the government is announcing. For them to announce it now is an issue that we are worried about at the NLC and even at the TUC.

“Living wage is such that will, at least keep you alive. It is not a wage that will make you poorer and poorer. It is not a wage that will make you borrow to go to work. It is not a wage that will lead you to be in the hospital every day because of malnutrition. For that living wage, we have tried to look at N615,000.

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“Let me give you a breakdown of how we arrived at that figure. We have housing and accommodation of N40,000. We asked for electricity of N20,000 — of course, that was before the current tariff increase. Nobody can spend this amount currently. We have a utility that is about N10,000. We looked at kerosene and gas which is about N25,000 to N35,000.

“We looked at food for a family of six, that is about N9,000 in a day. For 30 days, that is about N270,000. Look at medical, N50,000 provided there will be no surgery or whatever.

“For clothing, we looked at N20,000. For education, N50,000. I don’t know if those who tried to put their children in private school, will not be able to cope with this amount. We also have sanitation of N10,000.

“I think where we have another bulk of the money is transportation. This is because the workers stay on the fringes and because of the cost of PMS, which amounted to N110,000.

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“That brought the whole living wage to N615,000 and I want anyone to subject this to further investigation and find out whether there will be any savings when you pay somebody on this rate.”

Bridget Benson
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