NECA Urges Pragmatism in Minimum Wage Negotiations Amid Economic Challenges

The Director-General of the Nigeria Employers’ Consultative Association (NECA), Mr. Adewale-Smatt Oyerinde, has issued a stern warning to representatives of organized labour: embrace the proposed N57,000 new minimum wage or risk becoming the undertakers of organized businesses by insisting on N400,000 as the minimum wage.

The proposed N400,000 wage, placed on the negotiation table by organized labour, represents a staggering 1,233% increase from the current N30,000 minimum wage. In contrast, the N57,000 proposal put forward by the private sector represents a 90% increase over the existing wage.

Oyerinde emphasized that the circumstances and situation of organized businesses have not significantly improved to accommodate the 90% increase offered by the private sector. Many businesses are already operating at a loss, with some even shutting down.

The private sector’s commitment to the 90% increase reflects its dedication to workers’ welfare and job protection, which can only be sustained by the survival of enterprises.In a press statement titled “National ‘Minimum’ Wage Negotiation: Job Security and Creation Should Be Prioritized,” Oyerinde urged the wage negotiation committee to focus on job creation, job security, and productivity.

He emphasized that the committee’s mandate was to negotiate a new national minimum wage that serves as the “floor” wage, below which no employer should pay.Despite ongoing challenges such as rising interest rates, logistics costs, energy tariffs, and multiple taxes, the private sector remains committed to the 90% increase in the National Minimum Wage. However, the demand for N400,000 by organized labour is deemed unsustainable and could lead to the demise of many organizations.

As the negotiations continue, the delicate balance between fair wages and business viability remains at the forefront. The survival of both workers and enterprises hinges on finding a sustainable solution that ensures job security while maintaining the health of the business ecosystem.

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