Nigeria’s Federal Government has reached an agreement with leadership of organised labour to suspend for 30 days, a proposed strike scheduled for Tuesday.
Following the removal of subsidy on petrol by the Federal Government and the resultant increase in its price, the Nigeria Labour Congress and the Trade Union Congress issued a strike notice and were poised to commence on Tuesday, October 3.
Consequently, a meeting was called on Sunday by the Federal Government to avert the strike. The meeting which continued on Monday saw a truce reached at the elevent hour.
The Monday meeting which began at 5.10pm and had the leadership of both the NLC and TUC in attendance stretched to just beford 11pm.
Government had at the meetings, told the labour unions about steps being taken to mitigate the suffering of workers due to the removal of fuel subsidy by President Bola Tinubu.
Chief of Staff to the President, Hon Femi Gbajabiamila led the government team including the Labour and Employment Minister, Hon Simon Lalong to Monday’s meeting while NLC President, Comrade Joe Ajaero, was at the head of the labour delegation.
At the end of deliberations, a Memorandum of Understanding was issued and the following agreements reached:
1. The Federal Government grants a wage award of N35,000 (thirty-five thousand Naira) only to all Federal Government workers beginning from the month of September pending when a new national minimum wage is expected to have been signed into law.
2. A minimum wage committee shall be inaugurated within one month from the date of this agreement.
3. Federal Government suspends collection of Value Added Tax (VAT) on Diesel for six months beginning from October, 2023.
4. Federal Government accepts to vote N100 billion for the provision of high capacity CNG buses for mass transit in Nigeria. Provisions are also being made for initial 55,000 CNG conversion kits to kick start an auto gas conversion programme, whilst work is ongoing on state-of-the-art CNG stations nationwide. The rollout aims to commence by November with pilots across 10 campuses nationwide.
5. The Federal Government plans to implement various tax incentive measures for private sector and the general public.
6. On the leadership crises rocking the NURTW and the purported proscription of RTEAN, the Federal Government commits to handling Labour matters in line with relevant ILO Conventions and Nigerian Labour Acts. A resolution of the ongoing impasse is expected by or before October 13.
7. The issue of outstanding Salaries and Wages of Tertiary Education workers in Federal-owned educational institutions is being referred to Ministry of Labour and Employment for further engagement.
8. The Federal Government commits to pay N25,000 per month for three months starting from October, 2023 to 15 million households, including vulnerable pensioners.
9. The Federal Government will increase its initiatives on subsidized distribution of fertilizers to farmers across the country.
10. The Federal Government should urge State Government through the National Economic Council and Governors Forum to implement wage award for their workers. Similar consideration should also be given to local government and private sector workers.
11. The Federal Government commits to the provision of funds as announced by the President on the 1st of August broadcast to the Nation for Micro and Small Scale Enterprises. The MSMEs beneficiaries should commit to the principle of decent jobs.
12. A joint visitation will be made to the refineries to ascertain their rehabilitation status.
13. All parties commit to henceforth abide by the dictates of Social dialogue in all our future engagements.
14. The NLC and TUC accept to suspend for 30 days the planned Indefinite Nationwide strike scheduled to begin, Tuesday, the 3rd of October, 2023.
15. This Memorandum shall be filed with the relevant Court of competent jurisdiction within one (1) week as consent judgment by the Federal Government.