Demand For Minimum Wage May Increase Unemployment – Akpabio


The President of the Senate, Godswill Akpabio, on Sunday, expressed concern that the national minimum wage of N494,000 demanded by organised labour would force many private companies to dismiss their workers if implemented.

Akpabio expressed this concern at an 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 which was jointly organised by the leadership of the Senate and the House of Representatives was coming a few hours before the commencement of an indefinite strike called by the two Labour unions to protest the disagreement between them and the Federal Government over the proposed minimum wage.

While addressing the labour leaders, Akpabio urged them to be mindful of the collateral damage if the federal government finally agreed to the N494,000 minimum wage as demanded.

He claimed that the majority of the private firms in the country might not be able to afford the minimum wage as demanded and as such, it will force the companies to lay off workers, urging 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,” the senate president said.

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Akpabio assured that whatever agreement that would be made between the government and the labour leaders would 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.

“As you said, all of us are workers, we also have workers in our home and our children are also workers, whether we have done it, 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 stated.

The President of the Senate assured that the federal government and the leadership of both chambers of the National Assembly would 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 thereafter you will be addressed on the outcome of the deliberation”.

The TUC President, Festus Osifo, stressed that the current living conditions were unbearable for Nigerian workers, saying that the situation of the country has been “tough” since the beginning of the administration of President Bola Tinubu.

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He lamented that many Nigerians could not afford public transportation and other basic necessities.

The NLC President, Joe Ajaero, also corroborated the position of his TUC counterpart, saying that their demands were in the interest of Nigerian workers.

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