Gotel Communications, one of the ventures owned by Peoples Democratic Party’s presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar, has reacted to news reports that it has begun implementation of the new minimum wage structure.
The firm’s management said in a statement Friday night that workers would start receiving N33,000 effectively from November 2018.But it denied claims the policy was implemented across all the firms owned by Mr Abubakar, contradicting media reports that said the policy was adopted and up to 100,000 workers stand to benefit.
“The details of the report alluding that the minimum wage of N33,000 is to cover 100,000 staff under the Atiku conglomerate is mere fabrication intended for mischief,” Mohammed el-Yakub, Gotel’s managing director, said in the statement.
Mr el-Yakub also debunked reports that Mr Abubakar has up to 100,000 workers on the combined payroll of his numerous business interests, although the official avoided stating specifically the Gotel’s staff strength. He insisted that the N33,000 applies only to Gotel employees.
Gotel is the largest media organisation amongst Mr Abubakar’s group of companies. It operates television, radio and other multimedia platforms, covering largely the northern parts of the country.
Mr Abubakar has full or partner ownership in at least eight businesses ranging from haulage to education, including Adamawa Plastics, Faro Bottling Company, Gotel Communications, Prodeco, Intels, Rico Gado, Gese Derdirabe Farms and American University of Nigeria (AUN).
While Mr Abubakar has for years claimed to be the largest private employer of labour in Nigeria, he has kept the number of his staff members across board to 50,000.
The reports that Mr Abubakar has approved N33,000 for 100,000 employees, which PREMIUM TIMES did not publish, followed claims the Nigerian government and the organised labour had reached an understanding to hike minimum wage of workers to N30,000 from N18,000.
President Muhammadu Buhari was initially reported as having agreed to the amount, but the presidency later issued a statement clarifying that there were still more areas to be addressed before a full implementation could commence.
The Nigerian Labour Congress, largest amongst workers’ unions in the country, abruptly called off its nationwide strike under assurances that the Buhari administration had agreed with the N30,000 they both negotiated.