By Chinyere Bassey
Labour leaders on Sunday expressed optimism that the Federal Government would give workers a living wage not minimum wage.
President Muhammdu Buhari on Thursday approved the appointment of a 30-member tripartite National Minimum Wage Committee for the negotiation of a new National Minimum Wage.
The labour leaders, who are members of the committee, spoke to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos ahead of the committee inauguration scheduled for Monday in Abuja.
The committee is made up of persons from the public sector (federal and state governments) and the private sector (members of the Nigeria Employers’ Consultative Association (NECA)
Mr Ayuba Wabba, President of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) told NAN that“our expectation is that the demand of labour will be met.
“We will discuss with open mind to ensure that we achieve our aims and objectives,’’ Wabba said.
He said that the meeting with the tripartite committee would be a social dialogue and collective bargaining discussion.
According to him, the inauguration is long overdue and effort would be made to fast track negotiations to ensure that workers and pensioners get their accrued benefits.
He said that labour would discuss issues relating to rate of Naira because the present exchange rate had increased from the time N56,000 was being proposed by labour.
Mr Peter Ozo-Eson, NLC General Secretary, also said that the committee would discuss many issues affecting the minimum wage and the way forward.
According to Ozo-Eson, it is over two years since the organised labour proposed N56,000 as minimum wage to the government; and so will consider a number of socio-economic indices to take its action.
He said that the organised labour was looking forward to the inauguration because the committee was made up of a tripartite group that would discuss issues affecting the Nigerian workers.
“We look forward to the inauguration which I believe will discuss the facts and economic realities when it starts negotiation.’’