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We won’t accept meagre addition to ₦60,000 as minimum wage– Labour

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Last Updated on June 4, 2024 by Fellow Press

The Organised Labour has vowed to reject any lean addition to the ₦60,000 offer by the tripartite committee on the new minimum wage.

The President of the Trade Union Congress (TUC), Festus Osifo, stated this on Channels Television’s Politics Today programme on Tuesday, hours after the Organised Labour comprising the TUC and the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) suspended its industrial action which started at 12:01 am on Monday.

“At the meeting on Friday, they (the tripartite committee) said they would not add anything more to the ₦60,000 but in the meeting of yesterday (Monday), Mr President was able to commit to doing what is more than ₦60,000,” Osifo said.

Before the strike, the tripartite committee which has the Federal Government, states and the Organised Private Sector as members, offered Labour ₦48,000, then ₦54,000 and then ₦57,000 and later ₦60,000, all four offers which were rejected by the TUC and NLC.

When asked whether Labour would accept a few thousand naira additions to the last offer of the tripartite committee, the TUC boss said, “No, we also told them that it’s not that we’d get to the table and you start adding ₦1, ₦2, ₦3,000 as you were doing and we got some good guarantees here and there that they would do something good.”

Osifo said the Organised Labour is not fixated on ₦494,000 as the new minimum wage for workers in the country but the tripartite committee must show seriousness and offer workers something economically realistic in tandem with current inflationary pressures.

Though the union leader refused to mention a specific amount, he said the new minimum wage must be equal in purchasing power to the value of ₦30,000 in 2019 and ₦18,000 in 2014.

Osifo faulted the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) and Minister of Justice, Lateef Fagbemi, for describing the industrial action by labour as “premature” and “illegal”. The TUC boss argued that during this year’s Workers’ Day on May 1, 2024, the Organised Labour gave the government a one-month notice which ended on May 31, 2024.

‘Strike Has Awoken Everybody’

The TUC leader said the little-above-24-hour strike has achieved labour’s aim as it has awoken everyone in the country to the demand of workers.

“When it comes to the issue of Labour, it should be taken much more seriously. The attention should be there.

“What has this strike achieved today? This strike has awoken everybody. I can tell you that between now and the next one week, the entire attention is going to be on the tripartite committee. That was actually what we were trying to achieve and we have achieved that,” he said.

Earlier on Tuesday, the Organised Labour relaxed its nationwide strike which started at midnight on Monday after the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, George Akume said President Bola Tinubu was committed to a national minimum wage above ₦60,000.

The President also directed the Minister of Finance, Wale Edun, to present a template for a new minimum wage by Wednesday.

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Breaking: Rotten tomatoes, pepper dangerous — Doctor warns Nigerians

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Last Updated on June 15, 2024 by Fellow Press

A medical doctor, identified simply as Wales, has warned Nigerians to stay away from rotten tomatoes and pepper, known as ‘eesa’ or ‘baaje’ tomatoes.

In a clip that went viral on social media, Wales stated that the continuous consumption of rotten tomatoes and/or pepper posed several health risks, and could lead to cancers, due to the presence of harmful microorganisms such as fungi, known to produce mycotoxins.

Displaying rotten tomatoes on a plate, the doctor stressed that the tough economic situation should not be a reason for people to eat ‘poison’.

He said, “Fellow Nigerians, good morning. I know that, because of the economy, you are saving money on so many things. But please, if you see this thing, (rotten tomatoes and peppers) in the market, run away.

“Just because we are in a ‘rogbodiyan’ (tough) economy does not mean you should start eating poison, because this type of tomato can cause cancer.

“Fresh tomatoes are vegetables rich in Vitamin C, potassium and antioxidants. Rotten tomatoes, however, aren’t fresh in any way but are soft pieces of piled tomatoes sold at cheaper prices to people who cannot afford the fresher options.

“And, because they are broken, this type of tomatoes are easily accessible to flies, which deposit germs and eggs inside them. But, that’s not the worst part. As these tomatoes break, microorganisms invade them, causing them to rot. Among these microorganisms are fungi known to produce something known as mycotoxins. Meanwhile, mycotoxins have been linked to cancers and induction of immune deficiency in humans. And, because tomatoes contain lots of fluid, these mycotoxins spread faster to all parts of the tomatoes.”

The medical doctor also stated that boiling and washing the tomatoes would not rid them of the mycotoxins, which not only cause cancer but can also damage the kidney and liver.

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Minimum Wage: ₦‎250,000 demand not sacrosanct – TUC

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Last Updated on June 15, 2024 by Fellow Press

Trade Union Congress (TUC) President Festus Osifo said yesterday that there was nothing sacrosanct about the N250,000, adding that labour was receptive to adjustments.

There was no immediate response from the federal government last night on the latest stance of organised labour, although the Senate yesterday pledged to grant accelerated consideration and passage of the new minimum wage bill from President Bola Tinubu.

Only last Wednesday, the acting President, Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Prince Adewale Adeyanju, said labour’s demand “remains N250,000, and we have not been given any compelling reasons to change this position, which we consider a great concession by Nigerian workers during the tripartite negotiation process.”

Adeyanju was responding to the Democracy Day broadcast of President Bola Tinubu in which he said an agreement had been reached on the new national minimum wage.

Osifo himself in his first reaction to the FG and OPS agreement on N62,000 as minimum wage penultimate Friday had said “for us (labour), we felt that with the current economic hardship and the difficulty in the land, the sum of N250,000 should be what will be okay as the minimum wage.

But speaking yesterday on Channels Television’s breakfast programme, The Morning Brief, he said there was “no figure that is sacrosanct; there is no figure that is cast in stone that both parties will be fixated on it.”

He added: “What we said is that for us, when we give figures, there is always a room to meander; there is always a room for us to do some adjustment here and there.

“One of the reasons that we went on industrial action the last time was because when it got to N60,000, they told us that a kobo could not even join the N60,000; that they could not even add one naira to it.

“So that was one of the reasons that led to that industrial action beyond the fact that there were also delays.”

President Tinubu is expected to send an executive bill to the National Assembly on the new minimum wage for legislative action.

The TUC President said that they are not going to pre-empt the President, but they are making all efforts to justify why Tinubu should tilt towards the figure presented by the labour instead of the one by the organised private sector and the government.

He said that if the President sends a figure that is not favourable to the labour to the National Assembly, they will still approach the lawmakers and push them to do much more.

Osifo vowed that the work of the labour leaders will not end until the Minimum Wage Act 2024 becomes law. He said it is premature to predict what labour will do if what is passed is not acceptable to them at the end of the day.

The FG and the Organised Private Sector (OPS) had on Friday, May 31 reached an agreement to pay N62,000 to their least paid worker; an increase of N2,000 on the N60,000 rejected two weeks ago by labour.

The 36 states, which were represented on the Tripartite Committee on the minimum wage, said on the same day that they could not afford to pay even N60,000 while the NLC and the TUC disagreed with government and the OPS.

They said the minimum they would accept was N250,000, which is N244,000 less than the N494,000 they initially demanded.

The Tripartite Committee has already submitted its report and recommendation to the President, who is expected to take a decision on the final figure to be sent by way of an Executive Bill to the National Assembly for consideration.

The TUC President said while labour was not disposed to pre-empting the President on his decision, the unions were keen on ensuring that Tinubu tilts toward the figure presented by labour instead of the N62,000 by government and OPS.

He said should the President decide on a figure labour finds unfavourable, it will take its struggle to the lawmakers to convince them for an increase.

He said it was premature to predict labour’s reaction if the action of the executive and the legislature turns out to be unfavourable.

Tinubu, at a state dinner to mark Democracy Day on Wednesday had declared that his planned minimum wage is “what Nigerians can afford, what you can afford and what I can afford.”

He added: “Cut your coat according to your size, if you have size at all.”

Apart from the state governments which have expressed their inability to pay even the N60,000 which labour had rejected prior to the June 3 and 4 strike, signals from the local governments also suggest that they cannot pay N62,000.

National President of the Association of Local Government of Nigeria (ALGON), Aminu Muazu-Maifata, said on Thursday that the LGs could not pay that amount.

Muazu-Maifata said some local governments have not even been paying their workers the ₦30,000 approved as minimum wage in 2019.

He said an affordable minimum wage should be set and not something unsustainable.

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