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Labour wants Ngige to clarify double-speak on minimum wage

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Chris Ngige, Minister of Labour and Employment.

The United Labour Congress (ULC) on Friday told Labour and Employment Minister Chris Ngige, to explain his `double-speak’ on the planned new minimum wage, to avoid confusion on the issue.

On May 30, Ngige announced that the new National Minimum Wage would not be paid to workers by the end of September, contrary to a previous announcement by the Federal Government.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) labour correspondent reports that Ngige’s announcement appears to have dampened the morale of workers, who have been expecting a new wage in September.

Nigeria currently operates a wage structure for civil servants, described as one of the lowest in the world, despite its position as Africa’s top oil-bearing nation.

Addressing newsmen in Lagos, the President of the ULC, Mr Joe Ajaero, told Ngige to clarify his statement to avoid creating tension among workers.

He said that the minister’s statement that the wage would no longer be paid in September amounted to double-speak on the matter.

Ajaero described the minister’s statement as unfortunate, saying that he should have consulted with members of the tripartite committee on the minimum wage before making an announcement on the wage.

“We are not sure the stakeholders, who are members of the committee were consulted and this is undemocratic and lacks due process.

“Our fear and worry is that the statement is laden with intentions.’’

Ajaero said there was need to be sensitive to the plight of Nigerian workers, who had been facing immense hardships over the years.

The labour leader said it would not be good for any government official to sabotage the interest of workers, vowing that the labour movement would not accept anything that would affect workers adversely.

He assured workers that labour would continue to put pressure on government to ensure that the committee submitted its report next month.

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