The Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr. Chris Ngige, yesterday urged organized labour to accept a new national minimum wage figure based on the capacity and the ability of both the government and the private sector to pay in line with social dialogue and the overall interest of the nation.
Ngige gave the advice yesterday when the new Director General of the Nigerian Employers Consultative Association (NECA), Mr. Timothy Olawale and his predecessor, Mr. Olusegun Oshinowo, visited him in Abuja.
The minister said Nigeria cannot afford rounds of labour crises, appealing to NECA to weigh its influence on organized labour to accede to the new national minimum wage figure mutually agreeable to all the partners.
“We need to arrive at a figure which the employers can afford to pay as an employee cannot fix a figure for the employer. Rather, it must be based on collective bargaining and mutual agreement by the tripartite partners. It is not a function of moving motions or voting at the National Tripartite Negotiation committee to insist that the figure must be as the organized labour appears to make it look,” Ngige said.
He said the government’s proposed new minimum wage figure was clearly based on critical facts and indices incapable of causing disequilibrium in the economy or upturning the national social order.
A former Director General of NECA, Olusegun Oshinowo, said his successor, Timothy Olawale, commended the minister for his open door policy despite opposing positions on issues in the past.