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Reps beg labour to shelve strike, offer palliatives

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Ahead of Monday’s nationwide strike, the House of Representatives has offered organised labour some palliatives.

Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, held a negotiation meeting with labour on Sunday in Abuja.

He said the palliatives would be included in the proposed 2021 budget to cushion the effects of the increase in electricity tariff and fuel price hike.

Gbajabiamila listed them as distribution of food items, reduction of taxes on minimum wage and payment of some special allowances.

Others include involving workers in the ownership of housing programmes through mortgage and distribution of special buses to public institutions which run on autogas.

The Speaker assured that the lawmakers would also make budgetary provision to tackle the deficit of meters to enable Nigerians to access them.

Gbajabiamila described estimated billing as a scam.

“I have never heard it anywhere in the world, so if we may have to provide for the deficit, we will have to do that. If you go on strike, the people you think you are protecting will be at the receiving end, we share your philosophy regarding workers’ rights.

“We know what Nigerians are going through, our position on electricity billing is obvious, the only thing now is to continue to talk. Shutting down the markets, banks and other places of work is my worry, I am concerned about the people,” he said.

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