Labour shelves planned strike by one month

The Organised Labour including the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) and Trade Union Congress (TUC) have agreed to suspend its planned indefinite strike, which would have started today (Tuesday October 3, 2023), by 30 days.
The resolution was sequel to over five hours of dialogue between the Federal Government and Labour at the Chief of Staff Conference Room of the Presidential Villa, Abuja on Monday.
This is as Labour signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the FG which upheld earlier promises the government made and new deliverables some of which are to be achieved in 30 days.
Announcing the outcome of the meeting to State House correspondents, the Minister of Labour and Employment, Simon Lalong, said: “The NLC and TUC accept to suspend for 30 days the planned indefinite nationwide strike scheduled to begin, Tuesday, the 3rd of October, 2023.”
Part of the resolutions reached is that a minimum wage committee shall be inaugurated within one month from the date of the agreement.
The FG also agreed to vote N100billion for the provision of high-capacity Compressed Natural Gas buses for mass transit in Nigeria.
Lalong noted that provisions were also being made for initial 55,000 CNG conversion kits to kickstart an auto gas conversion programme, whilst work was ongoing on the state-of-the-art CNG stations nationwide.
“The rollout aims to commence by November with pilots across 10 campuses nationwide,” the minister noted.
The Federal Government plans to implement various tax incentive measures for the private sector and the general public.
It also upheld its earlier approval of a wage award of N35,000 only to all Federal Government workers beginning in September pending when a new national minimum wage is expected to have been signed into law.
However, it urged state governments through the National Economic Council and Nigerian Governors’ Forum to implement wage awards for their workers.
“Similar consideration should also be given to local governments and private sector workers,” the memorandum read.
On the leadership crisis rocking the National Union of Road Transport Workers and the purported proscription of the Road Transport Employers Association of Nigeria, the Federal Government committed to handling labour matters in line with relevant International Labour Organisation Conventions and Nigerian Labour Acts, adding that a resolution of the ongoing impasse is expected by or before October 13.
The issue of outstanding salaries and wages of tertiary education workers in Federal Government-owned educational institutions is being referred to the Ministry of Labour and Employment for further engagement while the Federal Government promised to increase its initiatives on subsidised distribution of fertilisers to farmers across the country.
Lalong also noted that the FG vowed to take a joint visitation to the refineries to ascertain their rehabilitation status.
“All parties commit to henceforth abide by the dictates of social dialogue in all our future engagements,” he said.
Signatories to the MoU include the NLC president, Joe Ajaero; President, Trade Union Congress of Nigeria, Festus Osifo; TUC’s Secretary-General, Nuhu Toro.
On the FG’s side, the signatories include the Minister of Labour and Employment, Simon Lalong; Minister of State for Labour and Employment, Nkeiruka Onyejeocha and the Minister of Information and National Orientation, Mohammed Idris.
Meanwhile, reacting to the development, Ajaero threatened to revisit the strike option if the agreements were not implemented.
Asked if the agreements applied to the states, he said the fuel subsidy removal that informed Labour’s action affects all Nigerians, including those in the states and the private sector.
The Minister of Information and National Orientation, Mallam Mohammed Idris, had in a statement he issued on Sunday, said: “The Federal Government, on Sunday, October 1, 2023 met with the leadership of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and Trade Union Congress (TUC) on measures to address the dispute arising from the removal of subsidy on Premium Motor Spirit (PMS).
“The parties noted the following:
“i) The Federal Government has announced N25,000 only as provisional wage increment for all treasury-paid federal government workers for six months.
“ii) The Federal Government is committed to fast-tracking the provision of Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) buses to ease public transportation difficulties associated with the removal of PMS subsidy.
“iii) The Federal Government commits to the provision of funds for micro and small-scale enterprises.
“iv) VAT on diesel will be waived for the next 6 months.
“v) The Federal Government will commence payment of N75,000 to 15 million households at N25,000 per month, for a three-month period from October-December 2023.”
Idris also noted that some resolutions were reached.
He said: “In light of the discussions held during the meeting, the following resolutions were reached:
i) The issues in dispute can only be resolved when workers are at work and not when they are on strike.
ii) Labour Unions argued for higher wage award and the Federal Government Team promised to present Labour’s request to President Bola Tinubu for further consideration.
iii) A sub-committee to be constituted to work out the details of implementation of all items for consideration regarding government interventions to cushion the effect of fuel subsidy removal.
iv) The lingering matter of Road Transport Employees Association of Nigeria (RTEAN) and National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW) in Lagos State needs to be addressed urgently and Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, who participated virtually, pledged to resolve the matter.
v.) NLC and TUC will consider the offers by the Federal Government with a view to suspending the planned strike to allow for further consultations on the implementation of the resolutions above.
Governor Abdulrazak Abdulrahman of Kwara State and Chairman of the Nigeria Governors Forum (NGF) and Governor Dapo Abiodun of Ogun State, participated virtually in the meeting, chaired by the Chief of Staff to the President, Femi Gbajabiamila.
Also in attendance were the Minister of Finance and Coordinating Minister of the Economy, Wale Edun, the Minister of Information and National Orientation, Mohammed Idris, the Minister of Labour and Employment, Simon Lalong, the Minister of State, Labour, Nkeiruka Onyejeocha, the Minister of Budget and Economic Planning, Abubakar Atiku Bagudu, the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs and Poverty Alleviation, Betta Edu, the Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Doris Uzoka-Anite, the Head of Service of the Federation, Dr. Folasade Yemi-Esan and the National Security Adviser (NSA), Mallam Nuhu Ribadu.
“The labour delegation was led by NLC President, Joe Ajaero, Dr Tommy Etim Okon, Deputy President, TUC, NLC General Secretary, Emma Ugboaja, TUC General Secretary, Nuhu Toro, among others.”

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