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Reps propose over N100,000 minimum wage

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Opposition Reps propose over N100,000 minimum wage

Lawmakers in the House of Representatives elected on the platform of opposition political parties have called on the Federal Government to implement a new minimum wage of more than N100,000 to assuage organised labour.

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Organised labour, made up of the Nigeria Labour Congress and the Trade Union Congress, is demanding N494,000 minimum wage as opposed to N60,000 proposed by the Federal Government.

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After a series of meetings ended in stalemate last week, organised labour embarked on a nationwide strike on Monday, which grounded economic activities across the country.

In an interview with The PUNCH on Tuesday, the Minority Leader of the House of Representatives, Kingsley Chinda, lamented the condition of the average Nigerian worker, stressing that failure to pay a living wage was a constitutional breach.

He said, “In Nigeria today, any wage below $200 (N298,800) is ridiculous. The Nigerian worker is heavily underpaid and it is the responsibility of the government to ensure the security and welfare of its citizens. Failure to pay a living wage is unconstitutional as the welfare of citizens is neglected.

“Public and government officers should have their monthly wages while we consider the hourly rate for private or casual employees. The earlier the government concludes this matter with labour unions, the better.”

Like Chinda, a member of the Peoples Democratic Party and lawmaker representing Obokun/Oriade Federal Constituency, Osun State, Oluwole Oke, said only the payment of a living wage would enable the majority of Nigerians to cope with the current economic realities.

“The minimum wage the Federal Government should pay should be N120,000. I say this because wage increase has its linkages, effects and consequences. Nigerian workers deserve living wages.”

Oluwole, who chairs the House Committee on Judiciary, urged the private sector to be taken into consideration.

“We need to look at productivity in the private sector. Would the private sector that feeds the government survive? We have a serious issue at hand,” he added.

On his part, the lawmaker representing Abuja Municipal/Bwari Federal Constituency of the Federal Capital Territory, Chinedu Obika said the minimum wage should not be less than N150,000 “based on the current reality.”

Obika, a member of the Labour Party, further urged the Federal Government to take into consideration the inflation rate in the past few years, when considering the new wage for the Nigerian workers.

 

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