“Baseless speculation” – TUC slams Tinubu’s aide, Onanuga, over comment on new minimum wage proposal

The Trade Union Congress (TUC) has described President Bola Tinubu’s Special Adviser on Information and Strategy, Mr. Bayo Onanuga,’s stance on the current minimum wage dispute as unsubstantiated speculation that will undoubtedly sow the seeds of strife and destroy trust in the administration.

According to TUC, Onanuga argued on Monday that the proposed new minimum wage of N100,000 would be impossible for the government to implement.

According to TUC, the presidential assistant had stated that both the Federal and state governments would be unable to pay public servants N100,000 or more national minimum wage if such were approved.

In a statement signed by TUC’s Secretary General, Comrade Nuhu Toro, the union said: “The attention of the Trade Union Congress of Nigeria (TUC) has been drawn to speculative and uninformed public pronouncements by the Presidency on the on-going national minimum wage negotiations.

“The remarks made by the aide are not only insensitive but also indicative of a disconnect from the realities faced by millions of hardworking individuals striving to make ends meet.

“Such speculative statements undermine the fundamental principles of fair compensation and perpetuate the cycle of economic inequality. President Tinubu’s government owe workers a duty to advocate for policies that promote decent wages and ensure reasonable standard of living for all citizens, in line with global best practices.”

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TUC said that the Federal and state governments, employers and labour are in the preliminary stages of negotiations for the new national minimum wage in the country in accordance with the constitution, adding: “No proposals have been made by any of the negotiating partners including the presidency.

In the statement, TUC said: “No offer has been made, and none has been negotiated. So, the president’s spokesman in bandying around figures is merely being mischievous. This may well be a strategy to throw spanner in the works of the negotiating body.

“If the presidency has a figure or figures it wants to propose, it should do so through the Minimum Wage Negotiating Committee, through social dialogue, determined by the cost of living index, rather than behave like a man throwing stones in the market place and hiding his hand.

“The presidency has knowledgeable people in government that can advise on how proposals are submitted to the negotiating body, rather than allow grossly uniformed speculators like Mr Onanuga to dirty the waters.

“Again, his baseless speculation will no doubt serve to sow the seed of discord and undermine trust in the government. Nonetheless, Congress is not going to dignify Onanuga and his principals with counter proposals because this is neither how tripartite negotiation work, nor how social dialogue can be carried out. Rather, we are focused on executing the socio-economic and patriotic task of giving the country a sustainable living wage.

“We urge the working people to ignore and disregard Onanuga and his tribe of gamblers who while milking the country dry, wail that there is no money to pay hard working Nigerians decent wages. The TUC also holds that it is immoral for the funds of the country to be frittered away on things such as buying expensive cars worth billions of naira for politicians in power and their spouses.

“We urge all Nigerians to support the democratic process of arriving at a living wage, and ignore the tantrums and distractions of people who think governance is all about propaganda, not sincerely serving the people.

“We stand united in our demand for transparency, accountability and respect for the dignity of all workers. The president must act swiftly to restore faith in the government’s commitment to economic justice and to reject any notion that suggests otherwise.”

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