By Shola Abayomi.
The Trade Union Congress (TUC) has accused the Federal Government of playing smart to avert industrial action, following the government’s decision to implement the new minimum wage with workers earning below N30,000 monthly.
The Federal Government through the National Salaries, Incomes and Wages Commission (NSIWC) on July 16, stated in a circular released by the NSIWC Chairman, Richard Egbule, that the implementation of the new minimum wage would start with workers currently earning below N30,000, while others would follow after the conclusion of talks on consequential adjustments.
Reacting to the circular, the TUC President, Quadri Olaleye, who spoke in Abuja yesterday, described the move as unacceptable, adding that the Federal Government was testing the patience of workers.
“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.
“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 workers.
“We assure them that they either go to the negotiating table to complete the assignment or risk the wrath of 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 minimum wage”, the TUC President said.
Olaleye also warned that organised labour would not be blamed if it embarks on industrial action, stressing that “to be fore warned is to be fore-armed.”