NLC Seeks Stakeholders’ Support For New Minimum Wage Negotiations


The President of the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC), Comrade Joe Ajaero, has called on all stakeholders to support negotiations that would lead to a new minimum wage, that will be commensurate to the current cost of living in Nigeria.

Comrade Ajaero made the appeal at the ongoing 5-day, 19th edition of the NLC Harmattan School in Abuja, Nigeria, with the theme: “Building Workers Skill for Policy Engagement”.

He said the purchasing power of Nigerian workers has been eroded due to inflation occasioned by the removal of fuel subsidies and age-long structural adjustments (SAP) programmes, as such the negotiation will aim at what can motivate workers to enhance productivity and contribute to national development.

“We must reckon that a well-motivated and enumerated worker has a positive impact on productivity and national development.

“As we anticipate the commencement of negotiation for the national minimum wage in 2024, we seek the understanding of all stakeholders.

“Be assured that we will use this opportunity to arrive at a minimum wage that is commensurate with the prevailing cost of living.

“The ultimate goal, though, is for establishing a minimum wage that covers the cost of living and makes allowance for some savings by the workers,” Comrade Ajaero said.

He explained that since the introduction of the Structural Adjustment Programme (SAP) in the 1980s and the subsequent adoption of the neo-liberal framework, there have been distortions in the social pillar of society through the pullback of public spending on the provision of social services.

“The austerity measure has negatively impacted the lives of workers, peasants, and the poor. It calls for broad collaboration with a broad segment of the society to form a formidable force to sustain policy engagement with governments at all levels,” Ajaero said.

He described the 2023 Harmattan school as apt and a unique one, as it will build workers’ skills on labour matters and more so because previous modules have been reviewed to meet current challenges of the union, as it interfaces with employers for the benefit of the larger society.

“Modules of the 2023 Harmattan Schools are reviewed… All the Union’s educational programmes down to the state level will be sustained to make an impact on the workers.

“As a unionist, one thing that I have noticed over the years that is lacking or not being done efficiently is monitoring and evaluation of our programmes.

“We must develop new mechanisms to monitor and evaluate our policies and programmes to know what impact they have on our people.

“Lack of such also affects collective bargaining and dispute resolution,” he stressed.

The NLC president was represented by his deputy, the NLC Vice President Benjamin Anthony.

The Country Director of the International Labour Organization (ILO), Mrs. Vennassa Phala, in a remark urged the NLC to strengthen its research mechanisms backed with data so that it will become a tool when engaging in labour negotiations, especially in the areas of wages and salary.

“Conversations in the NLC should also focus on the Global Accelerator Analysis, as it aims to create jobs for billions of people who are excluded from the opportunity.

“Attention should equally be given to issues of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), climate change, and the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCTA). 

“There are inherent opportunities in them. The NLC should exploit ways of how Nigerian workers and the unemployed can benefit from them,” she further advised.