The Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr Chris Ngige, Thursday said that if the Federal Government agrees to the demand of Labour union on new minimum wage, it would surely lead to lay off of workers.
According to Ngige, retrenchment will be the price to pay for meeting a wage bill of N580 billion needed to meet labour’s demand on the new wage.
The minister said this to labour leaders in Abuja, when the leadership of the United Labour Congress (ULC), paid him a courtesy visit in his office.
Ngige said that the Federal Government was avoiding a situation where it would have to lay off workers, as unemployment of workers would add to the nation’s challenges.
The minister pleaded with labour to accept the consequential adjustment from levels 7 to 17, adding that the government had only three months left to implement the new wage.
Ngige further revealed that the Federal Government had so far paid arrears of N500 billion to workers, including the Academic Staff Union of Universities.
He restated that implementation of the new wage had since commenced for workers on grade level 1 to 6, adding that the development had helped those on the lower cadre in the civil service to move up.