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Minimum wage: FG cannot downsize number of workers – TUC

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Minimum wage: FG cannot downsize number of workers - TUC

Chairman of Trade Union Congress, TUC, Enugu state chapter, Comrade Chukwuma Igbokwe, has said that it is mandatory on the Federal government to pay the new minimum wage without downsizing the number of civil servants on its pay roll or place permanent embargo on employment.

Igbokwe stated this while reacting to the controversy trailing the allegation that the Federal Government will find it extremely difficult to fund the new salary scale in the country based on the new minimum wage of N30, 000.

Igbokwe who made his views known in an interview described the controversy of insufficient funds to meet up with the envisaged new salary scale of workers based on the new minimum wage as a non issue, pointing out that such fears was why the negotiations on the new minimum wage was reduced from N65, 000 to N30,000 between labour leaders and the Federal government.

He said that there is no way the Federal government will renege on this agreement adding that the civil servants are already expecting the implementation of the new minimum wage in their various salary scales, from the month of May this year.

“It was because of the fear and option of downsizing the number of workers in the country that the organized labour eventually settled for the N30, 000 from the initial proposed N65, 000. President Buhari promised that the Federal government will begin the implementation from May, 2019. The workers are expecting the fulfillment of the assurance.

“Before the Federal Government will consider the option of placing embargo on employment as an option to meet up with payment of new minimum wage,it must be a collective decision of all stakeholders. We must have to meet to discuss on how much the government is generating,the total wage bill of Nigerian workers and that of the Politicians,” he said.

Comrade Igbokwe pointed out that if at any point in time placement of embargo is considered as the only available option, it must not be permanent saying it can only be a temporal measure to help the federal government to readjust to changes.

However, he stressed that it is not compulsory that most Nigerians will be under the employ of the federal government, stating that in civilized countries the private sector is the greatest employer of labour and advised that the Federal government could still initiate empowerment schemes for most Nigerians not employed in the civil service, by granting micro credit loans for them to start their own businesses.

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