President Bola Tinubu will next week unveil wage awards to cushion the effects of removal of subsidy of petrol on workers.
The labour movement, comprising the Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC, and Trade Union Congress, TUC, had repeatedly clamoured for payment of wage award to assuage the impact of the subsidy removal on workers, before negotiation on new minimum wage next year.
The President of the Trade Union Congress (TUC), Comrade Festus Osifo, disclosed this in an interview on ChannelsTelevision’s “Politics Today” programme on Tuesday night.
TUC had given the federal government a two-week ultimatum to address its demands or risk industrial action from workers across the country.
Osifo noted that the Minister of Labour and Employment, Simon Lalong, told TUC he had met with President Tinubu and the Minister of Finance, Wale Edun, on the matter.
Osifo said Lalong told the union that the issue of wage had been reviewed, adding that President Tinubu would speak on the matter in the coming days.
“The minister of labour told us that he had an audience with President Bola Ahmed Tinubu and the minister of finance and had reviewed the issue of wage award but that the president asked them to fine-tune the issues before he makes the announcement.
“The minister told us all these issues would be streamlined but because the president has traveled, we should give him an extra two weeks. We said no; we don’t have an extra two weeks to give. After more discussions, he said the president would make a proper announcement next week.”
Osifo said the union had engaged the federal government on the palliatives released to states, adding that “we are going to monitor distribution of palliatives in states to make sure the scheme is implemented appropriately.
”We want to see the template of the implementation which is why we engaged the federal government on this issue. We also raised issues around taxation and CNG (Compressed Natural Gas).”
On NLC two-week warning strike, Osifo said the union did not back out of it, saying it didn’t agree to participate in the first place.
Recall that NLC president had in an interview on Channels Television’s ”Politics Today” programme on Monday, said the TUC couldn’t have backed out of a strike it did not call.
“The NLC will not take under our watch if we give a strike notice and then a union that didn’t give a strike notice says they are backing out of a strike that they didn’t call for,” NLC president, Joe Ajaero, had said.
But TUC President Festus Osifo, in a follow-up interview on Tuesday, rejected the notion that it had shared any intention to go ahead with the strike.
“No, we never backed out from the strike we did not call,” Osifo said, explaining that before announcing a strike, the protocol was for one union to reach out to the other for a conversation, leading to strategies between both.
He said: “In that plan, there are a lot of things that are looked at. You define your clear-cut strategy; you define the timing.“