“I attended the meeting convened by the national body of our union in Abuja. So, we have also called for a meeting of our local branch which will be held tomorrow (Monday).
“We shall make our position known whether to join the strike or not tomorrow after the meeting which has been fixed for 3 pm,” Inuwa said.
During a two-hour meeting with the Presidency, the TUC, among others, demanded a review of the minimum wage.
Meanwhile, the Judiciary Staff Union of Nigeria said it was mobilising its members for the nationwide strike.
The union’s National Financial Secretary, Jimoh Musa, made this known in an interview with our correspondent on Sunday.
Musa said, “Of course, we will be mobilizing our members. We were a part of the meeting held two days ago. An injury to one is an injury to all. So, therefore we will be joining the strike.”
Speaking on the planned strike, the Deputy-President of the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Gabriel Idahosa described it as ill-advised and counter-productive to the long-term merits of fuel subsidy removal.
According to him, fuel subsidy has been an albatross on the neck of the national economy, stifling growth, while enriching a select few.
Idahosa said, “It is definitely not a good move by the NLC. It just shows the unfortunate shortsightedness of the labour movement because they are looking at the immediate pain and the immediate gain and they are not looking at the best interest of their own workers.’’
In the same vein, the National Vice President of the Nigerian Association of Small-Scale Industrialists, Segun Kuti-George said the planned strike action by the NLC would amount to postponing the evil day.
Meanwhile, the Federal Government, on Sunday evening, said it was reviewing a long list of demands made by the Trade Union Congress of Nigeria, the topmost of which was the upward review of the minimum wage.
This followed a two-hour meeting between the representatives of the FG and the TUC at the Aso Rock Presidential Villa, Abuja.
Sunday’s meeting came four days after talks between the Government, TUC, and the Nigerian Labour Congress ended in a deadlock.
Dele Alake who spoke on behalf of the FG said the meeting featured the consideration of a list of demands from the trade unions, amongst which was the upward review of the minimum wage due to what he described as a drastic fall in the purchasing power of Nigerian workers occasioned by the discontinuance of petroleum subsidy.
However, discussions would continue on Tuesday, he said, as the President plans to convene a tripartite committee comprising the organised labour and private sector, to consider the specifics of the demands.
The President of the TUC, Festus Osifo, said aside from the minimum wage increase the union also demanded tax holidays for some categories of workers and revert to the old petrol pump price of N195/Litre while negotiations continue.
He explained “In the meeting we just concluded, we have detailed and marshalled out the list of our demands to them (FG).
“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 will reconvene this meeting again on Tuesday.
“We are hopeful that the demand that we have presented will be reviewed in the best interest of Nigerian workers.”
Meanwhile, e-hailing drivers under the aegis of the Amalgamated Union of App-Based Transport Workers of Nigeria have said that they would withdraw their services and embark on a nationwide protest on Tuesday over the failure of e-hailing companies to implement a 200 percent increase in fares following the new pump prices for petrol.
The Chairman of the Media and Publicity Committee of the union, Jossy Olawale disclosed this to The PUNCH.
He said the union was aware of the upward review of fares being implemented by some e-hailing firms.
A popular e-hailing company, in a memo dated June 2 informed drivers on its platform about an upward review in fares following the spike in operating costs.
According to the memo seen by our correspondent, the price review will see fares rise from N700 to N800.
Against the backdrop of the strike threat by labour unions, the Director General of Michael Imoudu National Institute For Labour Studies, Issa Aremu, has called for continuous dialogue between the organised labour and the FG on the fuel subsidy removal.
Aremu in a statement issued in Ilorin on Sunday, emphasized the imperative of policy dialogue and discussions between the government and relevant stakeholders on the vexed issue of deregulation.
He expressed optimism that through the exchange of facts, negotiations, and compromises, both the government and labour would find common ground for the inevitable reform of the petroleum downstream sector which he said the sector unions had been pushing for years.
He recalled that Petroleum products supply and pricing had always been an acid test for successive governments in Nigeria.
The former vice president of the NLC said, “What makes the current reform different is that there is a national consensus among all stakeholders that prohibitive costs of subsidizing a single product (petrol) in the wake of declining public revenue and other national needs are unsustainable. In addition, he said the Petroleum Industry Act with all its imperfections has rightly unbundled NNPC and legitimized deregulation.”
To deepen labour engagement through effective civil action, a tactical coordinating team of civil society and labour leaders has been mandated to work closely with the NLC, TUC and organised civil society to present the issues from proper perspectives.
The group comprising Nkoyo Toyo, Salisu Mohammed, Abiodun Aremu, Chris Uyot, Malachy Ugwumadu, Martins Egbanubi, Mo Paul, Hauwa Mustapha, Femi Aborishade, Monday Ubani, Richard Inoyo, Chris Nwaokobia, Jnr, Promise Adewusi, and Olawale Okunniyi, was expected to reach out, mobilise and organise collaborative peaceful mass actions across labour centres and other social movements.