Trade Union Congress (TUC) in its unilateral charter of demands to the Nigerian Government’s negotiating team, has asked for an increase in the minimum wage to cushion the effect of the petrol subsidy removal, including other demands aimed at resolving the dispute between the organised Labour and government over the subsidy removal.
This was the outcome of the Sunday’s meeting between the Federal Government team and that of TUC led by its President, Comrade Festus Osifo, which ended around 7.30 pm, in Abuja.
Mr. Dele Alake, spokesman for the government’s delegation while addressing the State House Press Corps after the meeting, said much progress has been made in the talks with the TUC leaders.
Alake stated the TUC had during the negotiation demanded a wage increase for workers to accommodate the burden of the rising cost of living the subsidy removal will bring.
According to him, the Federal Government is not averse to wage increases, adding that President Bola Tinubu had hinted that during his meeting with governors of the All Progressives Congress (APC) on Thursday, promising to increase workers’ welfare packages.
Alake, therefore, noted that President Tinubu is likely to constitute a tripartite committee that would include the labour, state governments, and private sector players to study all the dynamics of a wage increase in percentages, numbers and the categories that will be affected.
Festus Osifo, TUC President, on his part, said some progress had been made with the negotiations, so the union would brief its members ahead of tomorrow’s meeting.
He said, “On Wednesday last week and at the meeting, the government gave us their position and told us the reason why they did what they did, and presented some of the things they considered as palliatives to us. They asked us to consider them in the meeting, but we told them no, seeking to consult with our National Executive Council.
“So we went back, called the NEC of the Trade Union Congress of Nigeria on Friday and during the NEC meeting, the NEC of TUC decided that because we already told the government as of Wednesday that we’re taking their demands back, we want to go and look at them because they asked us for our demands, we said we didn’t have the mandate to discuss the mandates as at then.
“On Sunday, we detailed and marshalled out the list of our demands to them. Topmost in our demands, we stated that for utmost good faith and in the interest of social dialogue, they should revert to the old pump price while discussions continue.
“Yes, we have presented the list of our demands to them, and they received it in good faith that they will go back to their principal and come back to us on Tuesday.
“So we’re hopeful that the demands that we have presented will be reviewed in the best interest of Nigerian workers and the entire Nigerian masses.
“The demands are so long, they are so many, part of it is the demand for a (review) of the minimum wage and we stated that for us, quite apt is that the minimum today is not a living wage, as we all know. The value of the minimum wage since it was negotiated, has plummeted to a very abysmal level, as it is today.
“Because they are going back to Mr President, we also think that we should also give them that benefit of the doubt because the things we presented to them the last time, they did not also reveal it before the press so it is also quite apt for them to go back, maybe when we meet on Tuesday, we can dissect them one after the other and be much more specific.”
EnergyDay gathered that the leadership of the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC), led by Joe Ajaero didn’t attend the Sunday meeting with the government team.
Mr. Alake said the meeting with TUC will resume on Tuesday after further consultations by both sides to firm up resolutions.