NECA Asks FG To Set Up Minimum Wage Committee
The Nigeria Employers’ Consultative Association has called on the Federal Government to constitute a tripartite committee that will deliberate on the new national minimum wage.
While expressing displeasure at the disruption of the National Workers’ Day celebration in Abuja by aggrieved workers, the Director-General, NECA, Mr. Olusegun Oshinowo, said in a statement on Tuesday, that the fracas would have been avoided if the government had been proactive.
According to him, the issue of a new wage was due for discussion in 2016, after five years that the N18,000 minimum wage came into effect.
Oshinowo stated, “The unfortunate incident was needless and avoidable if the government had proactively done the needful. There was indeed an understanding that the national minimum wage would be due for discussion after five years. In effect, the 2011 agreement, ordinarily, should be open for discussion in 2016. Government should not have waited for workers’ repeated clamour for discussion before acting in good faith.
“There is a time-tested and enshrined procedure for the discussion of the national minimum wage, which is premised on the principle of social dialogue and collective bargaining among the tripartite. This entails the setting up of a national minimum wage committee comprising representatives of the Federal Government, led by the Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation; state governments, usually represented by three state governors; employers in the private sector under the aegis of the Nigeria Employers’ Consultative Association; and organised labour as represented by the NLC and TUC.
“What the government must do, therefore, without delay is to immediately constitute the committee and convene a meeting to start off the discussion on the minimum wage.”
He said it was the responsibility of the committee to sort out the issue of the desirability of the review or sustenance of the status quo in the event that timing for the upward review of the minimum wage was inappropriate.
The DG explained that opening discussions on the national minimum wage should not automatically translate to an unsustainable wage increase, but was an opportunity to come to the table with constructive positions and submissions.
“The principle of reasonableness and superior arguments has always carried the day. Conclusions at the platform will not necessarily be for or against an increase. It will be to examine the need for or against and justifications for whatever positions are canvassed,” Oshinowo added.
Speaking on the position of the association on the proposed wage increase, he said, “Private sector employers cannot afford a pay increase at this point in time. This is the position the employers will canvass at the national minimum wage committee.
“The priority now should be for all stakeholders to join hands with the government to deliver on inclusive growth that will ensure job security and job creation.”
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