- Organised labour is not backing down on its demand of N30,000 minimum wage across board
- Chris Ngige had said federal government might lay off some workers in the public service should labour insist on having its way on the implementation of the N30,000 minimum wage
- Labour unions dismissed the threat by Ngige as cheap blackmail
A statement by the minister of labour and employment, Dr. Chris Ngige, that the federal government might lay off some workers in the public service to be able to pay the N30,000 minimum wage has been dismissed by organised labour.
The secretary of Joint National Public Service Negotiating Council (JNPSNC), Alade Lawal, described the statement as cheap blackmail, adding that labour would not be cowed by such threat, The Nation reports.
He said: “As far as we are concerned, anybody talking about retrenchment is blackmail. It is just cheap blackmail.
“We don’t subscribe to that. If they like, let them come to the negotiation table so that we can reach an agreement and implement so that everybody can move on. If they like, let them leave it."
According to him, claims by Ngige that government would require N580 billion annually to meet labour's demand of N30,000 minimum wage for workers across board were incorrect.
“The figure they are parading is not correct. They don’t need N580 billion. They don’t need it to implement the minimum wage."
Lawal said the number of employees in the federal public service is not up to one million. He asked the government to give a break down of how they arrived at the figure.
He insisted that labour would not back down on its percentage increase demand from government for workers on levels 7-14 and levels 15-17.
Lawal expressed worry that President Muhammadu Buhari's aides are not being truthful with him. “Now they are not telling Mr. President the truth. That is my worry. Truly, they are his aides," he said.
On his part, the Enugu state chairman of the Trade Union Congress (TUC), Chukwuma Igbokwe, said government could pay N580 billion workers wage bill.
He asked workers to ignore Ngige’s statement as he does not think the minister knows what he is saying.
In an earlier report by Legit.ng, Ngige had declared that the federal government would have to lay off workers to be able to meet demand on the new minimum wage. Ngige told labour leaders in Abuja that N580 billion was what would be needed by the government to pay the consequential adjustments as demanded by labour.
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