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NLC Accuses FG Of Deception In Minimum Wage Talks

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Chris Onyeka, the National Assistant General Secretary of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), has accused the federal government of deceiving workers after promising to increase the minimum wage to reflect economic realities.

This statement follows Organised Labour’s rejection of President Bola Tinubu’s claim during his Democracy Day broadcast that an agreement had been reached on a new national minimum wage. The federal government and Labour have been engaged in prolonged negotiations over setting a new minimum wage, with Labour demanding ₦250,000.

During an interview on Nigeria Info’s Morning Crossfire, Mr Onyeka explained that Labour initially engaged the federal government when it announced the removal of petroleum subsidy, resulting in an increase in the price of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS). He disclosed that the government, in a bid to prevent industrial action, proposed renegotiating the minimum wage, promising to raise workers’ pay to ease the financial strain caused by higher fuel prices.

Onyeka also criticised those who blame workers for wanting higher wages despite their financial struggles. Onyeka further mentioned that starting the Port Harcourt refinery was part of the government's plan to reduce the impact of higher fuel prices.

Meanwhile, an angry caller insisted that both federal and state governments have the resources to afford a minimum wage ranging from ₦400,000 to ₦500,000 for workers. "Do you know how much they spend? Do you know how much they give to their girlfriends? They waste money at hotels in the villages," this caller passionately asserted.

Another caller tried to find a balance, arguing that although the government has the financial capacity, some states might struggle to pay even ₦100,000. He criticized state governments for not exploring revenue-generation opportunities within their states.

A final caller doubted the government's sincerity in handling the minimum wage negotiations, suggesting that their claims of an economic crisis were just excuses to avoid meeting workers' wage demands.

 

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