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Union pleads with Cross River government to pay balance of minimum wage

The Trades Union Congress (TUC) of Cross River on Tuesday urged the state government to fully implement the federal minimum wage.

Speaking to reporters in Calabar, TUC state chapter chairman Monday Ogbodu decried the state government’s delay in implementing the scheme.

“The contentious issue here is the unreleased balance of N100 million out of the N250 million as negotiated and agreed by the stakeholders including the government,” he said.

The Federal Government has approved N30,000 as the minimum wage for workers in 2019.

Mr Ogbodun noted that the union and the government had agreed that workers in grades one to six would receive full minimum wages while those in grades seven to 17 would get percentage increases.

“While workers in level 07 would have a 10% increase, levels 08 and 09 would have increases of 9% and 8%, respectively.

“Similarly, workers in levels 10 to 17 were to get a six per cent raise.

“Everything was settled, and it was 250 million naira, but the government released 150 million naira, with a promise to release the balance once the economy improves.”

He lamented that the government has yet to keep its promise after about three years.

He said it was disheartening that the state government continually cited economic challenges as an excuse for not implementing the program.

“This administration is the most favored since the country returned to democracy in 1999. It got more money than any government since 2019,” he said.

Reacting to the request, the government said it was not sapping workers’ patience and understanding, but the economy was still unclear, hence its inability to release the N100 million balance.

Effiong Umoh, special adviser on labor to the governor, who said this, told reporters that the welfare of workers remained the government’s top priority.