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Osifo: Nigeria’s Government Must Cut Waste to Improve Workers’ Lives

“Negotiation is not emotion. We urged government to cut waste and act urgently to alleviate workers’ suffering,” said Festus Osifo.

President of the Trade Union Congress, Festus Osifo, has called on government to cut down waste in order to improve workers’ lives.

 During an interview with ARISE NEWS on Tuesday, Osifo emphasised the principles of negotiation, asserting that “negotiation is not emotion.” He highlighted that the government brought up the issue of affordability, to which the union responded by urging the government to cut waste and improve workers’ lives.

Osifo revealed that during a recent meeting, the union communicated its readiness to wait until midnight for an improved offer, but left knowing no progress would be made. “The marching orders would have been given before now because we gave a lot of signals to trigger the authorities to act,” he noted.

 Describing the union’s approach to the strike he said, “There could be different reasons why Nigerians want to embark on strike but for us in the labour congress it is a weighty decision before we go on strike.” 

He further mentioned that, during the strike, efforts were made to minimise disruption by allowing students to take exams and ensuring some hospitals remained open.

 Osifo criticised the government’s proposal of a N60,000 minimum wage as final, pushing for a higher amount and arguing that workers cannot wait for two months for a new minimum wage while suffering. He stated, 

“The workers are suffering, so it deserves the urgency of the moment.”

 He said the industrial action was a success as three key outcomes were achieved; government’s acknowledgment that they could go beyond N60,000, a commitment to conclude negotiations within a week, and increased attention from the president, who gave marching orders to address the issue.

 Osifo expressed hope that a resolution respecting the principle of negotiation would be reached within a week.

 He also touched on the union’s demand for retrofitting public transport to CNG to reduce transportation costs by up to 70%, which would benefit various sectors in Nigeria. 

Additionally, he mentioned the union’s intent to engage the government on electricity tariffs, an issue that has not been addressed since their ultimatum on May 1st.

 Osifo concluded by emphasising the need for proactive involvement in addressing national issues to prevent industrial actions, stating, “Strike in any part of the world always brings economic losses.”


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