Minimum wage demanded by labour may cause collateral damage to the economy – Akpabio

Minimum wage demanded by labour may cause collateral damage to the economy – Akpabio

The Senate President, Godswill Akpabio, has said a National Minimum Wage of N494,000 demanded by organised labour will force many private companies to dismiss their workers if implemented.

Mr Akpabio said this on Sunday during his opening remarks at the ongoing emergency meeting with the leadership of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and the Trade Union Congress (TUC) at the National Assembly complex, Abuja.

 

The meeting was convened by both the leadership of the Senate and the House of Representatives.

It is coming a day before the commencement of an indefinite strike called by the two labour unions over the proposed minimum wage.

 

The senate president, while addressing the labour leaders before the meeting went into a closed door, urged them to be mindful of the collateral damage if the federal government finally agreed to the N494,000 minimum wage as demanded.

He said many private firms in the country may not be able to afford the minimum wage being demanded by the unions and that it could force the companies to lay off workers.

He, therefore, urged the union leaders to be mindful of the effect of their demands.

 

“But we must also be mindful of collateral damage. I don’t want us to; in the course of trying to arrive at minimum wage, we end up with a lot of serious issues of unemployment because as soon as we arrive at the minimum wage, we will expect the private sector to also adhere and then if they are unable to do so, the next thing will be a detachment of workers,” he said.

 

Mr Akpabio assured that whatever agreement that will be reached between the government and the labour leaders will be in the interest of Nigerians.

“That was the reason we felt we should meet immediately. Of course, this is a major step in the right direction.

“Like you said, all of us are workers, we also have workers in our home, and our children are also workers whether we have done, whatever agreement we have made will be mutually beneficial to all, the government and the workers.

“So, we are all concerned. We are in the same shoes, we are wearing the same shoes, and we will be very glad to have something that is workable,” he added.

 

The senate president assured that the federal government and leadership of both chambers of the National Assembly will look into the demands.

“We will look at the issues, and as we work on the time rule, we must do the balancing. At this point, I will plead that the press should give us the opportunity to go into closed session, and after that, you will be addressed on the outcome of the deliberation,” he said.

 

The TUC President, Festus Osifo, said the current living conditions are unbearable for Nigerian workers.

Mr Osifo said the situation of the country has been “tough” since the beginning of the administration of President Bola Tinubu.

He said many Nigerians cannot afford public transportation and other necessities.

 

The NLC President, Joe Ajaero, spoke in the same vein.

Mr Ajaero said their demand is in the interest of Nigerian workers.

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