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Organised Labour Proposes Wage Award To Cushion Subsidy Removal

As the hike in the pump price of petrol continue to bite on Nigerians, the Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC, says some immediate palliatives must have to be put in place to cushion the effect on the citizens.

Fielding questions from labour correspondents in Geneva, Switzerland at the on going one hundred and eleventh Session of the International Labour Conference ILC, NLC President Joe Ajaero, said the organised labour has proposed what he called “a wage award to the government to cushion the effects of petrol subsidy removal on workers and Nigerians”.

The proposal he revealed, was part of the agreement reached with the government during the negotiation on the removal of fuel subsidy.

“We have proposed to them a wage award, which could be implemented immediately without waiting for the statutory period for the minimum wage law or for current negotiated minimum wage to expire. 
“This will not stop the review of minimum wage which will be due by early next year. It is good we draw this demarcation.
Speaking on whether the proposed wage reward will not compromise the review of the national minimum wage due for review next year, the NLC President explained that, “there is wage award and there is minimum wage.
“Early this year, the Nigerian government awarded some of their workers a kind of wage award of about 40 per cent of their basic salary, that has nothing to do with minimum wage but to cushion the effects of COVID-19 and others. 
“Now that we are having the effect of this subsidy removal, we will look at an award that will cushion it”, he said.

Some State governors however, are yet to abide with the National Minimum Wage Act as they have not been able to pay the N30,000 minimum wage.

Speaking on the forthcoming meeting between labour and the government to further discuss on the removal of fuel subsidy, Ajaero said that the meeting of Monday 19th June “is to give life to the agreement earlier signed with the government on fuel subsidy removal and to have some technical committee give life to the implementation of that agreement.
“We did not even want to go into the politics of subsidy because we know that as far as NLC is concerned, we do not know the people that are receiving the subsidy or those importing and exporting it”.  

The two umbrella labour centres in Nigeria, the Nigeria Labour Congress and the Trade Union Congress have asked for the investigation of  the subsidy regime in the country.


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