Organised labour has said that prompt payment of the existing owed- salaries by states and local governments and urgent wage increase in both private and sectors linked with productivity improvement, are the smartest and quickest ways to stimulate the nation’s economy and effectively fight corruption.
This is just as it averred that Nigeria as a nation needs wage- led economic recovery.
A statement issued yesterday by the general secretary of the Textile Union and NEC member of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Comrade Issa Aremu, noted that the recent CBN report on the economy, and to a large extent, the latest report of the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) showed that weak demand for goods is one factor responsible for low capacity utilisation of many private sector companies.
He stressed therefore that, to overcome the economic crisis, workers whose wages to buy basic goods and services must not only be paid on time but their wages must be increased.
“Nigeria cannot overcome recession with the existing miserable pay of workers and pensioners.
“To this extent, President Muhammadu Buhari must urgently constitute the tripartite committee on the review of the current national minimum wage. Nigerian workers have long been in depression, not just recession going by the crisis of compensation manifesting in salary arrears and collapse of wages caused by massive naira devaluation and price inflation of close to 20 percent. There is wage income poverty that cannot help economic recovery.
“Minimum wage was N125 ($240) in 1981. Then we had stable strong exchange rate and lower inflation. In real terms, workers in 1981 earned more than the current N18, 000.00 minimum wage.
“The 2010 negotiated national minimum wage of N18, 000 was about $120 in 2010. With naira devaluation, it has unacceptably fallen to less than $45 in 2016, a quarter of its nominal value in 2016 and less than 1 per cent of its value in 1981 about 40 years ago worsening income poverty.’’