By Aluta News
Aug 1, 2023
The federal government has expressed confidence that the labour unions would shift their proposed industrial action, scheduled to begin on Wednesday.
Chief of Staff to the President, Femi Gbajabiamila, disclosed this to newsmen after a closed-door meeting with the leadership of the unions on Tuesday in Abuja.
He said that the unions have accepted the proposal for palliatives to cushion the effect of the fuel subsidy removal as announced on Monday by President Bola Tinubu in a nationwide broadcast.
‘’We appealed to labour to call off the strike tomorrow. And they all agreed that Mr President’s broadcast was a welcome development and they will go back home to talk to the leaders that are not here today.
‘’So, we are hopeful that they will do the rightful and call off the strike tomorrow,’’ he said.
Mr Festus Osifo, Trade Union Congress National president, said that the meeting with the federal government was fruitful based on the broadcast of Mr President on Monday.
He said that the unions were informed by government representatives that the various palliatives proposed by the president were just the baseline and that more palliatives will be coming.
‘’For us, we felt that the President has said that N1 trillion has been saved in the last two months that what he proposed is not far reaching.
‘’Now, as part of the principle of negotiation, when anything is put on the table, you’ll accept but you’ll push for more.
‘’So on our path, we’ve said that what you put on the table is not enough, and that they can do more.
‘’We think for example, that 3,000 buses are not sufficient. By the time you divide 3,000 by 37, you will see how many they would come up to,’’ he said.
On the issue of the minimum wage proposed by the President during the broadcast, Osifo said that the meeting also made observation on that, adding that it was not part of what the union was asking for.
He said that the issue of minimum wage was a legal thing that requires constitutional amendment and that there was no time for such now.
‘’The Committee on the minimum wage has not been constituted. But what we have been advocating for is wage award that doesn’t have much bureaucracy, that you don’t have much issues around the law.
‘’Because the law that prescribed minimum wage says every five years, until you amend that, no other thing can key in.
‘’But we said for the immediate, let the federal government come with wage award just like some state government have announced that they will be paying 40,000 or 50,000. So they should do something like that.
‘’We have also heard some states saying that they’re going to pay PMS allowance of XYZ amount. So those are the wage awards that we were thinking off and we are pushing government to do,’’ he said.