Sun, Sep

Subsidy: Revert Back To Old Fuel Price – TUC insist


The Trade Union Congress, TUC, has yesterday following its negotiation with the Federal Government demanded that the old price of N194 per litre should be reverted as a condition to continue the negotiation. The trade union demanded that the Federal Government should first increase the minimum wage of civil servants to cushion the effect before it can talk of increasing the fuel price. TUC made these demands yesterday during a continued negotiation with the federal government hosted at the state house yesterday.

Meanwhile, as a condition to continue the negotiation, the union demanded tax holidays for some categories of people and reverted back to the old price of PMS as a condition for continued negotiation. 

The presidential spokesperson, Dele Alake, while briefing newsmen after the meeting yesterday said the demands of the TUC “are not practicable” though will be presented to Mr President whose opinion will be transmitted back to the labour union at the next meeting scheduled for Tuesday. 

He added that the demand for reversing back the price of the fuel will be taken during the Tuesday meeting with the labour leaders. 

Though he disclosed that the NLC chairman was absent during the meeting, other labour stakeholders are very much abreast of what they are up to. 

Alake in his statement, “But those demands we can announce to Nigerians that a lot of the items on the list are not impracticable. What we need to do is to study the numbers very well. Then, we have asked the TUC to also give us a leeway to consult very exhaustively and reconvene on Tuesday to actually look at the numbers, viability, and practicability of all the items that have been presented to us.” 

He revealed that Mr President would likely set up a tripartite committee that would negotiate for the wage increase which would comprise labour and the private sector to study the dynamics before considering those to be affected. 

When asked whether his team is also negotiating with the NLC, Alake responded, “No. We are not. But we are making efforts to reach NLC. We all agreed that we are going to meet here but again, in this game there are dynamics. Sometimes, they could be meeting with their own executives and not able to meet with us, or they could want to postpone or they have not actually articulated their list of demands as the TUC. 

“But we cannot second guess why they are not here. But efforts are being made to reach them; we are not isolating them at all.” 

Though, Alake avoided talking about accusations from one of the Tinubu spokespersons, Bayo Onanuga, who accused the NLC of working for the Labour Party. 

The TUC president, Festus Osifo, revealed that some progress has been made in the cause of the negotiation and will brief his members soon. 

He said, “As will recall that we were all here on Wednesday last week and at the meeting, the government gave us their position and told us the reason why they did what they did, but on our part, we did not agree with them. So they presented some of the things they considered as palliatives to us, that we should consider them in the meeting, but we told them no, that we cannot consider them in that meeting, that we’re going back to call our respective organs. 

Osifo explained, “So we went back, called the NEC of the Trade Union Congress of Nigeria on Friday and during the NEC meeting, the NEC of TUC decided that because we already told the government as of Wednesday that we’re taking their demands back, we want to go and look at them because they asked us for our demands, we said we didn’t have the mandate to discuss the mandates as at then. So we went back, we called our meetings on Friday, we had extensive deliberations and our NEC now mandated us with some lists of demands, to come and meet with the government side today (yesterday). So in the meeting we just concluded, we have detailed and marshalled out the list of our demands to them. 

“They also in turn told us that when they presented the items to us on Wednesday we told them that we were going back to our principals, so they also need to touch base with Mr President so that we’ll reconvene this meeting again on Tuesday.” 

The statement added, “Topmost in our demands was clearly stated, that for utmost good faith and in the interest of social dialogue, they should revert to the old pump price while discussions continue. 

“Yes, we have presented the list of our demands to them and they received it in good faith that they will go back to their principal and come back to us on Tuesday. 

“So we’re hopeful that the demands that we have presented will be reviewed in the best interest of Nigerian workers and the entire Nigerian masses. 

“The demands are so long, they are so many, part of it is the demand for a (review) of the minimum wage and we stated that for us, quite apt is that the minimum today is not a living wage, as we all know. The value of the minimum wage since it was negotiated, has plummeted to a very abysmal level, as it is today. 

“Because they are going back to Mr President, we also think that we should also give them that benefit of the doubt because the things we presented to them the last time, they did not also reveal it before the press so it is also quite apt for them to go back, maybe when we meet on Tuesday, we can dissect them one after the other and be much more specific.” 

On whether Nigerians will not misinterpret NLC’s absence to mean they are not on the same page with the TUC, Osifo responded, “It’s your function as the press to also help us educate Nigerians to make them understand that when you call organ meetings that the decisions of the organs is what the leadership are bound to push through and to implement.”