From Our Correspondent
The Federal Government is optimistic that the labour unions will shift their proposed nationwide industrial action scheduled for Wednesday.
Femi Gbajabiamila, Chief of Staff (CoS) to the President, raised optimism while chatting with newsmen, on Tuesday, in Abuja.
Gbajabiamila told newsmen after a closed-door meeting with the leadership of the unions that have accepted the proposal announced on Monday by President Bola Tinubu.
TheNewsZenith recalls that the President had in a nationwide broadcast announced palliative measures to cushion the fuel subsidy removal.
‘’We appealed to labour to call off their strike tomorrow. And they all agreed Mr President’s broadcast was a welcomed development and they will go back home to talk to the leaders that are not here today.
“So, we are hopeful that they will do the rightful and call off the strike tomorrow,” the CoS said.
The Trade Union Congress National President, Mr Festus Osifo, remarked that the meeting with the federal government was fruitful.
Osifo added that this is based on the broadcast of Mr President on Monday.
He said that government representatives informed the unions that various palliatives proposed by the President “are just the baseline and that more are coming”.
“The President said the government had saved N1 trillion in the last two months but what it proposed is not far reaching.
“Now, as the principle of negotiation, when anything is put on the table, you’ll accept but push for more.
“So, on our path, we’ve said that what you put on the table is not sufficient, is not enough and that they can do more.
“We think for example, that 3,000 buses are not sufficient. By the time you divide 3,000 by 37 States and FCT, you will see how many they would come up to,’’ he said.
On the issue of the minimum wage proposed by President during the broadcast, Osifo said that the meeting also made observations on the issue of the minimum wage proposed by the President.
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He added that minimum wages “is not part of what the union is asking for”.
“But what we have been advocating for, on the part of labour, is wage award that doesn’t have much bureaucracy.
According to Osifo, the law that mandates the minimum wage requires it to be updated every five years.
“Until this law is changed, no other adjustments can be made.
“But we said for the immediate, let the federal government come with wage award just like some state governments have announced that they will be paying N40,000 or N50,000.
“So, they should do something like that. We have also heard some states saying that they will pay PMS allowance of XYZ amount.
“Those are the wage awards that we are thinking and pushing the government to do,’’ he said.
According to him, the minimum wage issue is a legal thing that requires a constitutional amendment.
“There is no time for such now. The government has not constituted a committee on the minimum wage. But for the immediate, let the government come up with wage awards.
“This is just like some state governments have announced that they will be paying N40,000 or N50,000 to their workers.
“So, the federal government should do something like that. We have also heard some states saying that they will pay the PMS allowance of XYZ amount.
“Those are the wage awards that we are thinking and we are pushing government to do,’’ he said.
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