Inflation has seriously affected the purchasing power of the N30, 000 National Minimum Wage recently approved by the Senate, the Trade Union Congress of Nigeria (TUC) has said.
Speaking with The Nation, TUC President Comrade Bobboi Kaigama said though the organised labour appreciates the approval of the new wage, the prices of commodities have gone up even when employers have yet to commence payment of the new wage.
He said: “The N30, 000 monthly national minimum wage that we are even asking for, to a family of six actually amounts to less than N50 per meal per person. It is exclusive of utility bills, and school fees, among others.
“Given our extended family system as Africans, we are also expected to, once in a while, extend hands of fellowship to parents, in-laws, relations, and friends who have lost their jobs, brothers and people of the same faith.”
Kaigama expressed gratitude to some lawmakers, who he said kept to their promise to give the wage bill supersonic attention whenever it was brought before them.
“To us, it means we still have men and women with milk of kindness left in them,” he said
He, however, called on the Ninth Assembly and well- meaning Nigerians to prevail on governors to pay workers their salaries and pension as and when due to avoid crisis in the industrial sector, adding that workers have endured enough.
“We warned those who feel they cannot pay the new wage to stay away from politics. And for those claiming that it is only when Value Added Tax (VAT) is increased that the government can pay, we advise them to drop such evil counsel,” Kaigama said.
The TUC president commended the Federal Government, the lawmakers and the Nigerian Employers Consultative Association (NECA) for seeing reason with the workers.