By Michael Oche
Trade Union Congress of Nigeria (TUC) on Tuesday asked the federal government to hasten work on palliatives for workers, following the removal of subsidy on petrol.
The TUC president, Comrade Festus Osifo, made the call during a meeting with the Minister of Labour and Employment, Simon Lalong on Tuesday in Abuja.
The meeting was a follow-up to the September 4 meeting called on the instance of the minister to address the demands of organised labour.
The Congress told the government that workers were getting more inpatient due to hardship occasioned by the removal of subsidy.
Osifo said workers were facing enormous pressures that are making life very difficult, which makes the leadership of TUC to have sleepless nights.
The TUC President said the Congress was hopeful that between the next two weeks, President Bola Tinubu would have done everything possible to arrive at a conclusion which the workers are eager to hear in order to douse the tension and threat for withdrawal of services.
Director, Press and Public Relations, Federal Ministry of Labour and Employment, Olajide Oshundun said this in a statement before the meeting went into a closed-door session.
“After the meeting, the TUC said it held fruitful discussions and hoped that the government will live up to its promises and responsibility for ensuring the welfare of workers and Nigerians in general,” the statement said.
Lalong said he called the meeting to brief the leadership of the TUC on the efforts made by the federal government to address their grievances.
The minister, in company of the Minister of State, Nkeiruka Onyeajeocha, told the TUC that after their last meeting, he met with President Bola Tinubu to highlight some of the issues raised by the organised labour.
He appealed to the TUC to exercise more patience, explaining that before the President left for the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) in New York, he was fully briefed and gave further directives on implementation of issues put before him, particularly when he personally met with the labour leaders.
“Before the meeting went into a closed door session, the Minister thanked the TUC for accepting to come for the briefing, which showed that they are committed to the Nigerian project and are open to dialogue for greater industrial harmony,” the statement said.
Some of the demands of Labour are: wage award, tax exemptions and allowances to public sector workers, provision of Compressed Natural Gas buses, and release of modalities for the N70bn for Small and Medium Enterprises, release of officials of the National Union of Road Transport Workers by the police, Road Transport Employers Association of Nigeria crisis in Lagos, among others.