Monday 5 June 2023

Details of TUC Demands to be Considered by President Tinubu

The President Bola Tinubu-led administration has announced that it will consider list of demands from the Trade Union Congress (TUC) which includes minimum wage increment.

Other demands include tax holiday for certain categories of people as well as reverting to status quo as negotiations continue.

According to the both parties, FG and the TUC were able to find a middle ground on the issue of subsidy removal during the meeting.

While the government acknowledged the feasibility of the demands, they said the demands would be presented to President Bola Tinubu with immediate effect.

A federal government delegation held a meeting with representatives of organised labour, excluding the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), at the presidential villa, Abuja, on Sunday night.

Dele Alake, spokesperson for the government’s delegation to the meeting, told state house correspondents after the meeting that most of the demands “are not impracticable” and they would be tabled before the president.

Alake said the president’s decisions will be relayed to labour leaders at the next round of negotiations fixed for Tuesday.

He, however, confirmed that the government has, as demanded by the trade union, agreed to an immediate upward review of the national minimum and a committee to midwife that process will be set up forthwith.

The government is also considering tax holidays for workers among other measures that will be targeted at mitigating the severity of the fuel subsidy removal on the Nigerian workers, Alake noted.

Asked if the other demand by the organised labour that the new pump price of petrol be reversed pending conclusion of negotiations, Alake said the decision would likely be taken on Tuesday when both sides meet again.

He said that most fundamentally the President, Bola Tinubu, will constitute a tripartite committee to include states and the organised labour and the private sector to study the dynamics of the minimum wage augmentation to reach an amicable conclusion.

He further explained that there is no disagreement with the NLC over their demand for a review of the minimum wage or a return to status quo, noting that the FG representatives will meet with the President to crystallize decisions on the demands.

On NLC’s absence, he said it may be attributed to the inability to finalise with the NEC of the union before the meeting.

Nonetheless, negotiations will continue with all labour unions and stakeholders, he said.

He added that the absence of the NLC does not translate to an isolation of the group in the discussion but that the FG is making efforts to reach them, as the parties agreed to reconvene on Tuesday, 24 hours before a scheduled strike by the NLC.

Meanwhile the TUC has maintained that the Federal Government, in the interest of social dialogue, revert the price of fuel while discussions continue.

President of the TUC, Festus Osifo, said the union is hopeful as the Federal Government promised to look into their demands, top of which is a review of the current minimum wage among others.

Speaking to journalists, Osifo said while some progress has been made with the negotiations, the union would still brief its members ahead of Tuesday’s meeting.

He declined to give a full list of the demands presented to the government on the grounds that the union wants to continue negotiating in good faith as the government delegation also did not reveal details of its own side of the meeting.

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