By NBF News

The organized labour in Enugu State yesterday rejected a government proposal on the implementation of the controversial minimum wage, insisting that nothing short of the N18, 000 directive of the national leadership of the Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC would be accepted in the state.

Speaking to newsmen shortly after he addressed workers at their square at the State Secretariat Enugu, Chairman of the NLC, Chumaife Nze disclosed that government had proposed an increment of N10, 000 and N5000 for workers on grade level 01 to 06; and grade levels 06 to 16, respectively.

Said he; 'We informed them how far we have gone with the N18, 000 minimum wage implementation in the state; and we told them what His Excellency the governor told us, that he intends paying additional N10, 000 to the salaries of workers from level 01 to 06 and then N5000 from 06 to level 16.

'We wanted to find out from the workforce whether they will accept the government proposal but the organized Labour has said it is unacceptable and the Enugu workers have also said it is unacceptable.

He noted that the workers have also given them the mandate to go ahead and continue discussion with the government. 'They have also prepared a chart which they want the government to implement; so that is the extent we have gone now, and the negotiation continues.

He explained that what government has done is to get the difference of what workers are being paid now, and add N10, 000 and N5000 instead of the N18, 000, which the organized labour said no to; 'and the workers of Enugu State have given us the mandate that we should not accept it.

'So that is the issue now and we are still pleading with the Enugu State Government to pay us according to directive of the National body of Nigeria Labour Congress which we have given him our own suggestion in a chart.

The Enugu State Government has always echoed its preparedness to implement the payment of the new minimum wage of N18, 000 to workers in the state.

The State Commissioner for Information Mr. Chuks Ugwoke who briefed newsmen after last week's State Executive Council meeting in reiterated the government stand, pointing out that government and labour are still dialoguing to ensure the smooth and prompt implementation of the new wage.