LAGOS – The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) yesterday said that the union had started preparations for a new minimum wage for workers following the inflation, devaluation and depreciation of Naira.
NLC’s General Secretary Peter Ozo-Eson made the disclosure at an interactive session with newsmen in Lagos.
Ozo-Eson said that the implication of some of the government austerity measures, occasioned by the global fall in crude oil price, had started impacting negatively on workers.
“Giving when the last minimum wage was implemented, we should actually be preparing for a new regime.
“We have discussed this formally even before the austerity measures, but we took a position that we should wait before making formal demand for a review.
“We want to settle the issue of economic indices that determine what the minimum wage should be.
“Before we make a minimum wage demand, we do a thorough study on the basis of cost of living, inflation and what is happening to minimum wages in other countries,’’ he said.
Reports state that President Goodluck Jonathan signed the N18, 000 minimum wage act in 2010 which was yet to be implemented in some states.
It is expected to undergo a review every five years.
According to him, the   prices of goods and services are already winding up and workers are already being impacted negatively by the present situation.
He urged the government to avoid every attempt to pass the burden of the current fall in oil revenue to the workers.
“We are opposed and we will resist every attempt to pass the burden of this present situation to workers.
“The union will oppose any form of retrenchment that government may contemplate as part of the austerity measures,’’ he said.
Ozo-Eson said that union would prepare for the new regime of minimum wage once the contentions of whether to remove wage laws from exclusive list to concurrent was put to rest.
He said that the present economic situation would be factored into the demand that would be made to the government.
Ozo-Eson added that the pump price of petroleum products should come down as the price of crude oil had fallen in the international oil market.
The labour leader said that the organised labour had written a formal letter to Jonathan on the socio-political and economic crises in the nation in order to save the country.
Newsmen further reports that the government had increased the exchange rate for a dollar from N55 to N68.
It has also increased the lending rate from 12 per cent to 13 per cent as part of the austerity measures to stabilise the economy.