By Bimbola Oyesola

Following the media dispute between the organised labour and  government on the national minimum wage, the Nigeria Employers’ Consultative Association (NECA), yesterday, charged the two parties to wait for the decision of the tripartite committee on the new national minimum wage.

The Director-General of NECA, Adewale-Smatt Oyerinde expressed concern at the pattern of accusation and counter-accusation between some governors and the organised labour on the issue.

“It is instructive to note that the tripartite committee that was constituted to negotiate the national minimum wage is yet to finalise its assignment, so waging a war or negotiating on the pages of newspapers could be counterproductive for all stakeholders.

 “This seeming war of attrition on an issue that is programmed to be respectfully negotiated and consensus reached is not only unnecessary, but also disrespectful to the entire technical committee.”

While expressing concerns at the slow pace of negotiation, Oyerinde noted that, “we are also concerned that the committee meeting that was adjourned since the first week of April is yet to reconvene.”

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He stated that the protracted delay had the potential to further promote agitation and foster distrust among stakeholders.

He, however, called on the government to urgently recall the tripartite committee to continue its assignment as soon as practicable.

On the recommendations of the Organised Private Sector of Nigeria (OPSN), Oyerinde stated that employers were in absolute support of a new national minimum wage, as increase in wages could also promote economic activities, stimulate consumption, and enhance the capacity utilisation of businesses.

He, however, reasoned that such increase must take into cognisance the parameters as enshrined in the International Labour Organisation (ILO) Minimum Wage Fixing Convention 131 of 1970, which include the needs of workers and their families and economic factors.

Noting that an appropriate balance between these two sets of considerations was important to ensure that minimum wages were adapted to the national context, the NECA boss opined that “the effective protection of workers, level of productivity, ability to pay, and the development of sustainable enterprises, are taken into account.”