BY COBHAM NSA, ABUJA – Agitations by the Labour Movement over delay in implementing the N30,000 new national minimum wage have taken a fresh twist with the Trade Union Congress of Nigeria (TUC) accusing the Federal Government of insincerity and betrayal of trust in the ongoing engagement process.
Accordingly, the congress has outrightly rejected the recent circular by the National Salaries, Incomes and Wages Commission (NSIWC) on the implementation of the new minimum wage.
A statement by TUC’s President, Quadri Olaleye and Secretary-General, Musa-Lawal Ozigi, accused the government of seeking to employ underhand and backyard methods to frustrate possible labour action.
The Congress therefore expressed its readiness to resist anything that negates the reasons for setting up the Minimum Wage Committee to address the implementation challenges.
The statement made available to newsmen in Abuja said; “We have read with concern the circular released by Chief R. O. Egbule, the Executive Chairman of National Salaries, Incomes and Wages Commission (NSIWC) and Head isof 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 up the committee. We consider this as a smart move on the part of government to discourage labour action. The TUC is not fooled.
“The congress views this 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 government.”
Warning the government against playing with the workers’ sensibilities, the TUC said; “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.”
The statement, which also openly accused the government of double standards, said; “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..”
It therefore warned that; “The organised labour should not be blamed for any consequential action arising from non implementation of the minimum wage. To be forewarned is to be forearmed.”