Onyebuchi Ezigbo in Abuja
The Trade Union Congress (TUC) has declared that the circular issued by the Executive Chairman of National Salaries, Incomes and Wages Commission, Mr. Richard Egbule, on the implementation of the N30,000 new minimum wage is unacceptable.
Egbule had said the federal government would start the implementation of the new minimum wage with those workers earning below N30,000 per month.
While reacting to the threat by public service workers unions to go on strike over delay in the payment of the new minimum wage, Egbule said the position of the federal government is that the implementation of the new minimum wage would start with all those presently earning below N30,000 as salary, and that others would follow after the conclusion of talks on the consequential adjustment.
He said: “The salaries that are affected are those that are below N30,000 as at April 18, 2019. Those who earn salaries above N30, 000 will have their salaries adjusted after the conclusion of the negotiations.”
But in a statement issued yesterday by its President, Quadri Olaleye, and Secretary General, Musa-Lawal Ozigi, TUC said the federal government is playing smart in order to discourage labour action.
“We have read with concern the circular released by Mr. Richard Egbule, the 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 it considered the circular as a smart move on the part of government to discourage labour action, adding that “it is not fooled.”
The union said it viewed the latest move as a betrayal of the trust reposed on the federal government.
“We wonder why anything that has labour undertone becomes the issue of rejection by the 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 National Assembly was showered with billions of naira at a time the government is playing games with the minimum wage,” it stated.
The TUC statement said 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.”