Organised Private Sector can’t pay proposed new minimum wage —NECA

The Organised Private Sector (OPS), under the Nigeria Employers’ Consultative Association (NECA) says private operators will not be able to pay new wage increase now.

Mr Olusegun Oshinowo, the Director-General of NECA, said on Thursday, in Lagos, while fielding questions from journalists.

According to Oshinowo, economic depression has affected employers and their businesses have dwindled, causing some to reduce the number of workers and close shops.

“We will canvass at the National Minimum Wage Committee that the private sector is faced with challenges and stakeholders should look into it,” he said.

The director-general said that there was indeed an understanding that the National Minimum Wage would be due for discussion after five years.

“In effect, the 2011 agreement should be open for discussion in 2016. The clamour for discussions by the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and the Trade Union Congress (TUC) is therefore legitimate.

“There is a time-tested and enshrined procedure for the discussion of the National Minimum Wage, which entails a National Minimum Wage Committee.

“This comprises of representatives of the Federal Government, State Governments, NECA and Organised Labour as represented by NLC and TUC,” Oshinowo said.

However, he said that stakeholders in the socio-labour community and players in the Nigerian Industrial Relations’ system should be circumspect in their approach to the heated issue on the review of the National Minimum Wage.

He said that the issue of procedure should be separated from the minimum wage subject and that the Committee has the responsibility to determine if the time was good to increase the wage or not.

Oshinowo said that the principle of reasonableness and superior arguments has always carried the day during minimum wage dialogue and that conclusions at the platform would not necessarily be for or against increase.

He said it would be to examine the need for or against and justifications for whatever positions are canvassed.

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