The Nigeria Labour Congress said the minimum wage of N27, 000 and N30, 000 approved for state and federal workers was a fragmentation of the wage and therefore, unacceptable.
Chairman of the Congress in Anambra State, Mr Jerry Nnubia, told the News Agency of Nigeria in Awka on Tuesday that the minimum wage approved by the Council of State was against the principle of collective bargaining.
He said labour leadership expected the approval of N30, 000 recommended by the tripartite committee that handled the issue, adding that the council did not have the locus to change the content of the agreement.
He said the Federal Government should not encourage state governors to cheat Nigerian workers who also go to the same markets as federal workers.
“What is announced as minimum wage is unacceptable; how can they approve different minimum wages for federal workers and state workers when they all go to the same market.
“In labour matters, there are institutions that are parties to negotiations and council of state is not one of them; let the minimum wage of N30, 000 be approved, there are states that are willing to pay more than that amount.
“State governors are not the owners of their states and the Federal Government should not encourage them to hold us to ransom.
“If they must have a different minimum wage for state workers, then they should create a separate market for them,” he said.
Nnubia said that the labour movement may be forced to apply the last tool of negotiation and shut down the country if the new differential minimum wage announced was not rescinded.
“Maybe they want to shut down the country; we will help them and workers should not be blamed for it.
“We have an emergency council meeting on Friday and after that the national labour movement will take a stand on the matter,” he said.
The new minimum wage as approved by the National Council of State on Tuesday was announced by Labour and Employment Minister, Dr Chris Ngige, at the end of the meeting in Abuja.
He had said the Council approved a new minimum wage of N27, 000 as benchmark and that Federal Government had agreed to pay its workers, N30, 000.