New Salary for workers ready in 2weeks —FG, as NLC begins nationwide strike
The planned strike by the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) over the pains caused Nigerians by petrol subsidy removal is uncalled for, the Federal Government and Trade Union Congress (TUC) have declared.
The government and the TUC warned that the two-day strike could erode the gains recorded ”on our course to securing a greater future for workers and citizens at large.”
Labour and Employment Minister Simon Lalong and TUC President Festus Osifo also spoke during a meeting convened to stave off the strike.
But NLC President Joe Ajaero on Friday after a National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting of the labour centre, announced a two-day warning strike to hold today and tomorrow.
The minister, however, appealed to the NLC leadership to suspend the warning strike, noting that the new wage award will be ready in two weeks.
He promised that the Bola Tinubu-led administration would not take labour and Nigerian workers for granted.
Lalong said: “It has become pertinent to appeal to the leadership of the NLC to suspend its intended two-day warning strike, as such action would be detrimental to the gains already being recorded on our course to securing a greater future for Nigerian workers and citizens at large.
“Furthermore, I would request that the Comrade Leadership of the NLC gives this government some time to settle and address the issues on the ground holistically.
“It should be realised that the cabinet of this administration was only recently sworn in by Mr. President and all cabinet members have hit the ground running. Therefore, the issues raised by the leadership of the NLC are some issues that I and the Hon. Minister of State for Labour and Employment (Nkeiruka Onyejeocha) are being briefed upon.
“I use this opportunity to reassure Nigerian workers that this government would never take them for granted nor fail to appreciate their support and understanding. We shall continue to pursue policies aimed at massive employment generation in all sectors of the economy as well as look into immediate challenges that have emerged from the policies of the government. We cannot do this in an atmosphere devoid of industrial peace.”
Lalong told the participants that modalities for the implementation of tax exemptions, wage award and allowances to public sector workers would be completed in two weeks
He added that the conditions for accessing the N70 billion intervention fund for Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises were being fine-tuned by the government.
“We are going to address those issues within the period of two weeks and come back for further discussion. Some of the issues we discussed are those that are very urgent. There are some that will require a long span of time. This was the basis of our discussion.
“We agreed that there should be no strike within the two-week period while we are doing our deliberations and working towards realising some of these objectives.”
TUC President Festus Osifo also said that urgent issues like the “implementation of palliatives; wage award; tax exemptions and allowances to public sector workers and modalities for the SMEs intervention fund; among others were discussed .”
Osifo said: “In the palliatives that were rolled ou,t we have not seen anything put in place for federal workers. We need a wage award. The palliatives rolled out by the government are not far-reaching. We believe that the government can do much more.”
In the communiqué after its Sunday meeting, the TUC hailed some of the steps taken by the government to cushion the effects of subsidy removal.
But it urged the government to increase the amount provided for palliatives as the N5 billion given to each state was “grossly inadequate.”
The TUC also advised the government to deploy high-powered monitoring teams “to ensure that the palliatives get to the right people.
“We urge the government to do the needful to avoid a situation where the TUC, its affiliates and allies would be compelled to confront the government,” the congress added.
Called: The Nation
ONDO WORKERS JOIN STRIKE
The Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC, Ondo State, has directed all its affiliate unions in the state to obey the directive form their national headquarters to observe the two-day warning strike holding tomorrow and Wednesday.
Arising from its SEC meeting, in Akure, the NLC State Chairman, Comrade Victor Amoko, said the Organized Labour in the state had no choice than to obey the directive from its National Office.
He reminded affiliate unions in the state that it was not a protest but a sit-at-home action and charged every member of the Organized Labour Union to remain peaceful while observing the two-day warning strike.