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Joe Ajaero, the President of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), has advocated for an amendment to the national minimum wage law to allow for annual adjustments of wages.

The Labour leader expressed that such a move would accurately reflect the true value of the currency and the inflation rate.

Under the current law, negotiations and implementation of a new minimum wage occur every five years.

Speaking at a labour adjudicatory and mediatory forum hosted by the Nigeria Employers Consultative Association (NECA), Ajaero highlighted the importance of amending the law, which currently mandates renegotiation of the national minimum wage every five years, to enable yearly adjustments of wages in accordance with inflation levels and the value of the naira.

He said: “This is important because people have been coming up to say that if we increase salaries, it will affect inflation. But should we leave salaries to be constant while variables continue to grow?”

Ajaero said workers were displeased with the poor implementation of the wage award by the Federal Government, stressing that nobody was paying the N35,000 that was agreed last year.

According to him, Federal Government workers are yet to receive their January salary as of Tuesday.

The NLC president wondered why it took President Bola Tinubu less than 24 hours to implement the removal of fuel subsidy but was unable to decide on measures to manage its impact, eight months after.

He said the government failure to implement agreements reached through tripartite and social dialogue processes posed a grave threat to the stability and effectiveness of the nation’s industrial relations.

Ajaero said: “When agreements reached through tripartite and social dialogue processes are not faithfully implemented, it poses a grave threat to the stability and effectiveness of our industrial relations system. The trust and confidence built through these processes are essential for fostering an environment conducive for economic growth and social development.

“Infidelity to agreements erodes this trust, leading to a breakdown in communication and cooperation between the government, employers, and workers. This breakdown not only hampers productivity but also creates an atmosphere of uncertainty and discontent among all stakeholders.

“We cannot reach an agreement with the government since October 2, 2023 and the government refuses to implement months after, and we are not worried about its negative consequences to the Tripartite and Social dialogue processes.

“Additionally, the consequences of infidelity to agreements extend beyond the immediate parties involved. They send a message to the wider society that the commitments made through tripartite and social dialogue processes are not to be taken seriously.

“This undermines the credibility of the entire system and erodes public trust in the ability of social partners to address the needs and concerns of the workforce. The potential for social unrest and industrial disputes increases, hindering progress and jeopardising the sustainable development of our nation.”

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