TUC Rejects FG’s Position on Payment of National Minimum Wage

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By Onyebuchi Ezigbo in Abuja

The Trade Union Congress (TUC) has declared the circular issued by the Executive Chairman, National Salaries, Incomes and Wages Commission, Mr. Richard Egbule, on the implementation of the N30,000 new minimum wage as unacceptable.

Egbule had said that the federal government will start the implementation of the new minimum wage with those workers with earnings below N30,000 per a month.

While reacting to the threat by the Public Service Workers Unions to go on strike over delay in the payment of the new minimum wage, Egbule said that the position of the federal government is that the implementation of the new minimum wage will start with those presently earning below N30,000 as salary and that others will follow after the conclusion of talks on the consequential adjustment.

Egbule said: “The salaries that are affected are those that are below N30,000 as at April 18, 2019. Those that earn salaries above N30,000 will have their salaries adjusted after the conclusion of negotiations.”

But in a statement issued on Thursday by its President, Quadri Olaleye, and Secretary General, Musa-Lawal Ozigi, TUC said that the federal government is playing smart to discourage labour action.

“We have read with concern the circular released by Mr. Richard Egbule, Executive Chairman of the National Minimum Wage Committee set up by the federal government to work out the consequential adjustment arising from the wage increase. Let it be known that this circular is unacceptable to us because it contradicts the raison d’etre for setting the committee,” it said.

TUC said that it considered the circular as a smart move on the part of government to discourage labour action, adding that “it is not fooled”.

It said that it viewed the latest move as a betrayal of the trust reposed in the federal government.

“We wonder why anything that has labour undertone becomes the issue of rejection by government. By this circular, the government is testing the patience of the workers; and we assure them that they either go to the negotiating table to complete the assignment or risk the wrath of the workers.

“It will be recalled that recently the newly inaugurated green and red chambers of the National Assembly were showered with billions of naira at a time government is playing games with the minimum wage.”

The the TUC statement said that organised labour should not be blamed for any consequential action arising from non implementation of the minimum wage, adding that: “To be fore warned is to be fore-armed.