Umuahia — Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC, Abia State chapter, Monday, assured workers that it was committed to the realisation of the new minimum wage.
Mr Silvanus Eyeh, NLC Chairman in Abia State, who said this in Umuahia during a joint briefing by trade unions in the state, noted that the clarification became imperative to exonerate the leaders of alleged complicity in the refusal of the state government to comply with the Minimum Wage Act.
He said the payment of N18,000 to the least worker in the state was non-negotiable.
Eyeh said the workers would not accept any form of ‘Abia formula’ which, he said, was adopted by the state government to lower wages earned by workers.
“We have discovered that the state government is not sincere in its dealings with workers and we are demanding the immediate take-off of the new wage.”
The labour leader said adequate arrangements had been put in place to ensure that workers complied with the directive to embark on a warning strike in the state.
He said the leadership of NLC in the state was working hard to resolve the issue. “We have written the state government twice, but no reply yet.
“Whether they reply or not, we are committed to the strike come July 23.”
He said he could not understand why Abia State that recommended a minimum wage of N46,600 now found it difficult to pay N18,000.
Eyeh said state governments should stop complaining of funds because of the minimum wage, “because if government should reduce the cost of governance, other sectors will grow.”
According to Mr. Chris Okoro, State Chairman, Joint Public Service Negotiating Council, “the N18, 000 minimum wage is the take-home pay of the least worker and not what we call the basic salary.
He added: “We have nothing to negotiate with the state government, but want them to implement what had been agreed upon.”
Mr Chris Okpara, State Chairman, Trade Union Congress, TUC, said TUC and its affiliate bodies were involved in the warning strike, noting that it would be a complete nationwide strike.
“It’s condemnable for state governors to link payment of the new wage with petroleum subsidy or even review of revenue allocation,” Okpara said.