LCCI urges Labour unions to be more flexible in new wage negotiations

Considering the ongoing negotiations regarding a new national minimum wage, the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry LCCI has urged Labour union and all other parties concerned to consider a wage that reflects a good balance of economic realities, affordability, and sustainability. 

In a statement signed by the Director General, LCCI, Dr Chinyere Almona, LCCI enjoined labour to be more flexible, reconsider the government’s offerings, and be concerned about how private businesses can afford to pay the set wage without considering shutting down operations or cutting jobs.

She said that  we can avoid a situation where we force a wage on government and businesses, which will eventually lead to job losses, worsened poverty levels, and so much money chasing few goods. 

Beyond the new minimum wage, she said the Chamber is more concerned about having a more productive economy with a robust infrastructural base supporting economy.

The Chamber urged the government to Implement special non-cash interventions that will see businesses spend less on production, remove the import duties on food imports and critical raw materials and drastically reduce the import duty exchange rate on agricultural input and other imports that have multiplier effects on prices. 

Apart from urging them to  build infrastructure to support local production of essential medicines and more spending to upgrade our public health facilities, the Chamber also encourage government to implement an aggressive metering programme on power supply, and more investment and regulation in the sector to boost power supply through more contractual discipline and gas supply guarantees. 

She said with the government’s commitment to providing these support systems to Nigerians, low-income earners will spend less on these expenditure heads and have a better living standard in the long run. She said the  labour unions should consider labour productivity supported by infrastructure rather than high wages with weak productivity. 

The government needs to spend more on providing the infrastructural base required for a productive workforce and a conducive business environment.

Expressing the need for all parties to consider a wage that is within the financial capacity of both federal and state governments, will help maintain economic stability, and prevent potential layoffs or cuts in essential services.

She said It is also pertinent to adopt a wage that supports long-term economic sustainability, noting that over-extending financial commitments could increase borrowing and debt, adversely affecting the nation’s economy.

She suggested that all states can uniformly implement the new minimum wage by agreeing to a realistic and achievable wage, ensuring that workers nationwide benefit without significant delays or discrepancies.