By Uzair Adam Imam
The Federal Government will meet with the leadership of the organised labour movement today, as yesterday’s meeting to prevent the planned nationwide strike did not yield any fruitful results.
It was gathered that the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and the Trade Union Congress of Nigeria (TUC) rejected the federal government’s offers.
They said they had also rejected the N25,000 provisional wage award for low-grade workers to cushion the effect of the removal of the petrol subsidy.
Recall that President Tinubu, in his nationwide broadcast on the occasion of Nigeria’s 63rd Independence Anniversary, said the provisional wage was a result of talks with labour and other stakeholders in the country.
He stated, “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,” he added.
However, 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 most 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.
Other issues raised by the NLC and TUC leaders included tax rebates for low-income earners, the removal of value-added tax (VAT) on diesel for the next six months, and the provision of compressed natural gas (CNG) and buses within the next two months.