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Southeast Workers Demand ₦540,000 As New Wage

Workers in the southeast area on Thursday called for an upward review of the federal minimum wage and the expulsion of any governor who fails to enact the wage once it is enacted into law, despite the governors and their representatives avoiding the discussion.


Charles Soludo, the governor of Anambra state and chairman of the southeast zone public hearing on the pay review, did not attend the function.


The Trade Union Congress (TUC) asserted that the monthly wage for workers in the region should be set at N447,000, whilst organized labor, represented by the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), proposed an upward review of ₦540,000.


The N250,000 fine for failing to pay for the impeachment of a governor should be eliminated, both unions said, adding that the review should now take place every two years in light of the nation’s economic circumstances.


Workers also demanded that the country’s retirees receive the proposed hike in minimum wage at the Southeast Zone Public Hearing held in Enugu by the Tripartite Committee on National Minimum Wage.


When he outlined the union’s position in the southeast, Fabian Nwigbo, the NLC’s Enugu State Chairman, said that the demand had become essential following prevailing economic situation of the country.


He said: “If you consider what is happening today, you won’t be talking about minimum wage review. We had the last review in 2019 but till now some states have not implemented it. Nigeria minimum wage is less than 10 percent of of those paid outside Nigeria. When we had minimum wage in 2019, some items were as low as possible but today, rent has increased, food prices have increased except salary of workers that has not changed.

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“Let us take a family of six persons as an instance, it will cost about ₦2000 for each to be fed daily to feed for each and when you multiply that by six means ₦12000 per day for the family. This is not hospital bills, transportation, housing, security among others.


“So our stand is that ₦540,000 should be paid as minimum wage as it could do a little to workers. Minimum wage should also be reviewed every two years. We are also of the opinion that minimum wage remains in the exclusive list That as soon as it is passed into law, every state and local government should start paying immediately and not for states and local governments to go and begin negotiations afresh. It should be paid across board. We will ensure that any governor that fails to pay should be impeached”.


Ben Asogwa, the TUC chairman for Enugu state, who gave a presentation on the union’s position in the southeast, stated that the ₦447,000 was appropriate given the current economic climate.


In order to prevent the problem that arises from a similar procedure in 2019, Dr. Sunny Okafor, Secretary of the Nigeria Medical Association (NMA) in the state of Enugu, advocated for the rapid payment of the consequential adjustment as soon as the new wage is authorized.



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