…to review minimum wage, fuel subsidy modalities
… avert strike

Organised Labour and the Federal Government, at daggers drawn at the weekend, on the decision and modalities of a contentious fuel subsidy removal, appear to be finding some tenuous common ground and prospect of agreement going forward.

This is as President Bola Ahmed Tinubu had on Friday, promised to review government’s official minimum wage, following which Labour presented this as one of its demands at a meeting on Sunday.

The Federal Government met with the Trade Union Congress (TUC) for three hours, Sunday night in Abuja and appeared to make some semblance of a headway. The Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) was conspicuously absent from the meeting.

At the meeting, the TUC presented a list of demands before government, as a basis for initial understanding and cooperation.

These included an increase in the minimum wage, tax holidays for certain categories of people, as well as reverting to status quo on oil subsidy.

President Tinubu had likewise spoken of a push forward in date for the fuel subsidy removal last week, but was contradicted by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) which instantly raised fuel prices at its filling stations nationwide, emboldening others.

Dele Alake, spokesman for the Federal Government, told State House Correspondents after the meeting between the Federal Government and the TUC, that most of the demands “are not impracticable” and they would be tabled before the president.

Alake said President Tinubu would constitute a tripartite committee to include states and organised labour and the private sector, to study the dynamics of the minimum wage augmentation and reach an amicable conclusion.

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

Questioned on the probability of a fuel pump price reversal, Alake said the decision would as well, likely be taken at the meeting on Tuesday.

Alake further said there was no disagreement with the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) over their demand for a review of the minimum wage or a return to the status quo on fuel subsidy. He added that the Federal Government’s representatives would meet with the President to crystallise decisions on the demands.

He said the NLC’s absence may be attributed to the inability to finalise with the NEC of the union before the meeting.

Alake assured that negotiations would continue with all labour unions and stakeholders.

Government is looking to tthe prospects of the calling off of the nationwide workers strike instituted by NLC and scheduled to kick-off Wednesday.

This, it hopes would open a window of relief to President Tinubu, who is eight days in office, today, Monday June 5, and is faced with major headwinds in the take-off of his administration.

Further relieved will come to teeming Nigerians and businesses that could be saved the pains and losses that accompany labour strikes.