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Fuel subsidy crisis: TUC goes for the jugular, demands N200, 000 minimum wage

The Trade Union Congress of Nigeria (TUC) says an increase of the current minimum wage of N30, 000 to N200, 000 forms part of te union’s demands presented to the federal government at the ongoing dialogue on the fuel subsidy removal.

According to a document containing the demands, the union said the government must maintain status quo ante on the price of the petroleum.

The document which was jointly signed by Comrade Festus Osifo and Nuhu Toro as president and general secretary respectively, further said a representative of the state governors must be part of the agreement and governors must be party to implementation of the new wage.

It reads: “Status quo ante of PMS pump price should be maintained while discussion continues, Minimum wage should be increased from the current N30, 000 to N200, 000 before the end of June 2023 with consequential adjustment on Cost of Living Allowance (COLA), like feeding, transport, housing, etc. and a representative of state governors will be party to this communiqué and all the governors must commit to implement the new minimum wage.”

Other demands the Congress submitted to the government are “Tax holiday for employees both in government and private sector that earn less than N200,000 or 500USD monthly whichever is higher, PMS Allowance to be introduced for those earning between N200,000 to N500,000 or 500USD to 1,200USD whichever is higher, Exchange rate for retailing PMS in the country must be kept within a limit of +- 2% for the next ten (10) years where the fluctuation is more that 2%, the minimum wage will automatically increase at the same rate.”

Similarly, the also demanded for the “setting up of intervention fund where government will be paying N10 per liter on all locally consumed PMS

The primary purpose of this fund is to solve perennial and protracted national issues in education, health and housing.

“A governance structure that will include labour, civil society and government will be put in place to manage the implementation; federal government should provide mass transit vehicles for all categories of the populace.

“State governments should immediately set up a subsidized transportation system to reduce the pressure on workers and students. The framework around this will be worked out, Immediate review of the National Health Insurance Scheme to cover more Nigerians and prevent out of stock of drugs and Visitation of the refineries that are currently undergoing rehabilitation to ascertain state of work and Setting up timeline for its completion.”

They further said: “The president should direct who ever will be labour minister to immediately constitute the National Labour Advisory Council (NLAC). This platform will be used by government, Labour and employer to discuss issues and policies of government that may affect workers and all other mandate as specified in the law, Provision of subsidy directly for food items, the 800million dollars could be a first step and the existing National Housing Fund (NHF) should be made accessible to genuine workers; the framework on this must be discussed and agreed.”

In the medium term, the TUC “called for deployment of Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) across the country in line with the earlier promise made by government. The framework and timeline will be developed and agreed by both parties.

“Labour and government to design a framework that will be geared towards the reduction of cost of governance by 15% in 2024 and 30% by 2025

“A framework should be immediately put in place to maintain the road and expand the rail networks across the country, Government must design a framework for social housing policy for workers through Rent to Own System, the state of electricity in the country must be appraised and an action plan should be defined with time lines on how to get this fixed and that a strong monitoring team comprising of all parties will be constituted.”

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