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Subsidy: FG, Labour minimum wage subcommittee get eight-week deadline

Dele Alake

  • Subcommittee to decide on gas conversion, minimum wage, others

The Federal Government, on Monday, said it has set up a steering committee to consider the various demands presented by the organised labour centres to produce a workable framework in eight weeks, August 14.

The Special Adviser to the President on Communications, Special Duties and Strategy, Dele Alake and Presidents of the Nigerian Labour Congress and Trade Union of Nigeria, Joe Ajaero and Festus Osifo, respectively, disclosed this to journalists in separate briefings after a meeting at the State House, Abuja.

The meeting is the fourth in a series of negotiations between the FG and organised labour since the discontinuance of petroleum subsidy, as announced by President Bola Tinubu on May 29, 2023.

At the last meeting on June 5, 2023, the FG and the two labour centres agreed to continue talks and secure closure on the resolutions.

“The labour centres and the Federal Government to meet on June 19, 2023, to agree on an implementation framework,” the resolution read.

Speaking afterward, Alake said Monday’s engagement featured the creation of a steering committee to which several subcommittees would report on various aspects of the demands made by the organised labour.

“We reconvened today. And then, both parties went through this list. And we ticked off the viable ones; those things are broken into three different categories; the immediate, those that are low-hanging fruit, then the medium term and the long term.

“So that’s what we decided today. And then other meetings will still be held to cross the t’s and dot the i’s. And then we adjourned again, and we are now meeting those groups that have been constituted at today’s meeting.

“There’s a steering committee that will be like a clearing house. Where are there other work groups set up comprising both parties, government and labor members, and these work groups will work together very, very harmoniously and efficiently to arrive at the final resolution of all those demands; what we call interventions,” Alake said.

The President of the TUC, Osifo, explained that while the organised labour would carefully consider the framework the FG presented, it does not have forever to do so and must report within eight weeks.

He said, “We are looking at those frameworks. So the government came up with what they thought would work, and we made some input. From this night, we are going to continue the work in order to have that framework together.

“Once we have the framework, then we will agree. Anything we are putting together must be concluded in eight weeks. Everything must be rolled out within that time.

“We have agreed, they have submitted a framework to us, we have looked at it, we have made input, so will continuously work on it for us to come up with the deliverables.”

Osifo explained that the Presidential Steering Committee would superintend over other technical subcommittees to consider key aspects such as the rollout of converted mass transit vehicles running on Compressed Natural Gas as well as those to review the minimum wage.

The NLC President, Ajaero, said, “This meeting is intentionally to give life to those agreements that were reached. We have set up committees in those key areas to commence work on them to make sure that we wrap up in the next eight weeks.”

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