The Nigeria Labour Congess (NLC) has expressed satisfaction with efforts geared towards increasing cash flow around the country, following the nationwide scarcity occasioned by the naira redesign and cash swap policy of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).

“As far as our members are concerned nationwide, they are satisfied with minimum doubt which we want to clear within the next two weeks,” the NLC President, Joe Ajaero, said Friday during a live appearance on Channels Television’s Sunrise Daily.

“[All the] banks are not [performing] the same; some of the banks are doing relatively better than others. So, we want to monitor the activities of some banks who I may not want to mention here, so that I don’t demarket them.”

The CBN last week directed all commercial banks to open for operation on Saturdays and Sundays, adding that banknotes had been evacuated from its vaults to commercial banks across the country.

According to the apex bank, the directive was part of a coordinated effort to ease the circulation of banknotes of various denominations with a substantial amount of money, in various denominations, having been received by the commercial banks for onward circulation to their respective customers.

Labour Party Ties

On the NLC’s ties to the Labour Party (LP), Ajaero differentiated the union from the party, while acknowledging their shared history: the NLC formed LP in 2002.

Though the party came third in the keenly contested 2023 presidential elections, the party and its candidate, Peter Obi, are challenging the outcome at the elections petition tribunal.

Ajaero however noted that the matter of whether Obi won or not is left for the courts.

“If they decide not to work with us, so be it,” he added.

Minimum Wage

Ajaero also addressed the economic situation and the reduced spending power of the naira in relation to the need to increase the current N30,000 minimum wage.

The Minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige, in September 2022 said the Federal Government would adjust salaries in accordance with the current economic realities.

However, the minister on Wednesday alluded to the incoming administration of the President-Elect, Bola Tinubu, starting discussions on a review of the minimum wage immediately after its inauguration in May.

But the NLC president expressed reservation, saying meetings between the Federal Government and the union should have begun on the review.

“Ordinarily, as we are moving towards the expiration of existing agreements, we should be meeting by now – a series of meetings. At times, it may take six months, it may take five months. It may take more engagements so that we can arrive at something,” Ajaero said.

The NLC president explained that if Ngige had made the intention known since September, the committees should have been inaugurated.

“If they inaugurate a committee for wage review, everyone in this country will know about it. I don’t think there is any one in existence now,” he said.

He added that there is pressure from the union on the need for a “wage award” to make sure people survive the “harsh” economic situation caused by inflation.

“This inflation is always made by the actions and inactions of the Nigerian state. You can look at the issue of increase in tariff on electricity which is dependent on inflation,” Ajaero said.

According to him, each time electricity tariff increases, it inadvertently increases inflation. He described this as a recurring decimal.

“Some of their actions and inactions caused this inflation, and then we’ll have to look for a shock absorber that will take care of this inflation each time it comes,” the NLC president said.






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