Strike: Again FG, Organized Labour’s meeting ends in deadlock
The meeting between the Federal Government and Organised Labour yesterday ended in a stalemate when leaders of the Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC, and their counterparts from the Trade Union Congress of Nigeria, TUC, rejected the government’s offers.
However, the meeting will be reconvened today at 4 p.m.
According to sources at the meeting, the labour leaders rejected President Bola Tinubu’s N25,000 provisional salary award for low-level workers to mitigate the impact of the elimination of the petrol subsidy.
The union leaders reminded the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Lateef Fagbemi, SAN, that the government had threatened them with a court order and that “this is not acceptable.”
Recall that President Tinubu in his nationwide broadcast, on the occasion of Nigeria’s 63rd Independence Anniversary, had said: “Based on our talks with labour, business and other stakeholders, we are introducing a provisional wage increment to enhance the federal minimum wage without causing undue inflation.
‘’For the next six months, the average low-grade worker shall receive an additional Twenty-Five Thousand naira per month.
“Commencing this month, the social safety net is being extended through the expansion of cash transfer programmes to an additional 15 million vulnerable households.”
However, it was gathered that Organized Labour in its meeting with the Federal Government team at the Permanent Conference Room, Presidential Villa, Abuja, rejected the N25,000 provisional wage award and demanded 200 percent of the current minimum wage.
Besides, Labour insisted that the provisional wage increase should be for all workers, pending the enactment of a new Minimum Wage Act next year, and must not be limited to only six months.
The labour leaders equally insisted that the conditional cash transfer for the poorest and vulnerable people should be increased to N25,000 for 15 million vulnerable Nigerians, against the N5,000 the previous administration was paying.
After many hours of horse-trading, the Chief of Staff, Femi Gbajabiamila, who is leading the government’s delegation, broke the meeting for the government team to consult with the President on the new demands
Gbajabiamila, it was learned, was accompanied by the Minister of Labour and Employment, Simon Lalong.
Some other issues raised by the NLC and TUC leaders included tax rebates for low-income earners, removal of Value Added Tax, VAT, on diesel for the next six months, and provision of Compressed Natural Gas, CNG, and buses within the next two months.
The meeting that commenced at about 3.25 pm, ended around 7.15 pm to reconvene by 4 pm today.
Labour’s NEC to meet today on govt offers.