He, however, said due to inadequate resources, there was a limit to what the federal government could do on workers’ welfare.
Lai spoke in a response to the protest by unions in his ministry demanding his removal for allegedly not addressing issues bordering on their welfare.
He told State House correspondents that it was impossible for the government to meet the workers’ demands owing to paucity of funds.
“It is not unusual for unions to call for the removal of ministers. Any minister should expect that. They are complaining about welfare, but there is a limit to what government can do within the available resources.
“As much as we sympathise with them on the situation, the economy is simply not healthy enough to accommodate what it is used to accommodate in the past.
“If anybody is concerned and worried about expenditures in my ministry, they should go and check because it is open.
“We have appealed to them several times, but we met a culture that we cannot sustain”, he said.