The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) in Rivers has accused the state government of threatening it over the implementation of the new minimum wage.
NLC Chairperson in the state, Beatrice Itubo, made the allegation in an interview with Channels Television on Monday.
This comes a day after government officials with the Bureau for Special Projects sealed the NLC Secretariat in Port Harcourt, the state capital.
Itubo said, “Our secretariat was sealed about 9pm yesterday (Sunday), arising from the fact that we asked the state government to reconvene a meeting of the Minimum Wage (Implementation) Committee.”
“…That was what triggered them and the next thing, the Commissioner for Information went on air, saying that we have been bought over by politicians from Abuja and they will deal with us, we will face dare consequences.
“The same evening by 9pm, they came and sealed the secretariat,” she added.
According to the NLC leader in Rivers, the government did not consult the labour leaders before taking the final decision that led to the implementation of the minimum wage.
Although she did not state the specific amount that was implemented, she decried that the labour union had no explanation for its members on the purported irregularities notice in the payment of salaries.
Rather than going back to the discussion table, Itubo alleged that the government threatened to punish the union.
She said, “They (the government) went and implemented a minimum wage that we never signed, that we didn’t agree and at the end of the day, workers are complaining that what they paid was nothing because people on the same salary grade level are earning different salaries.
“So, we asked them to reconvene so that we can come up and agree on something so that we can be able to explain to our members when we are asked.”
Meanwhile, the government denied the claims that the secretariat was sealed as a result of the implementation of the minimum wage.
The Head Bureau for Special Projects and Special Adviser to the governor (Special Projects), Alabo George-Kelly, described the allegations as frivolous.
He stressed that they were not true but calculated attempts aimed at misleading the public against the genuine intentions of the government.