As FG Agrees To Pay Workers N35,000
Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and Trade Union Congress (TUC) have reached an agreement to suspend the planned nationwide industrial action for 30 days.
The decision was reached after a five-hour closed door meeting on Monday with the Federal Government and in order to pave the way for the implementation of all agreements.
To broker peace, a Memorandum of Understanding was signed by the Minister of Labour and Employment, Simon Lalong; Minister of Information and National Orientation, Alhaji Muhammad Idris; and Minister of State for Labour and Employment, Nkeiruka Onyejeocha for the government side.
The NLC President, Joe Ajaero, and General Secretary, Emmanuel Ugboaja, as well as the TUC President, Festus Osifo, and Secretary General, Nuhu Toro.signed on behalf of both unions.
In the three-page document, both parties agreed that the promises made by the Federal Government would be achieved in 30 days.
Disclosing the resolution reached at the meeting to State House correspondents, 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 agreement was that the Federal Government would pay N35, 000 to all Federal workers beginning from the month of September pending when a new national minimum wage would be signed into law.
Also, that a minimum wage committee would be inaugurated within one month from the date of the agreement.
Lalong noted that the Federal Government would suspend the collection of Value Added Tax (VAT) on Diesel for six months beginning from October, 2023.
This was even as the Federal Government accepted to vote N100 billion for the provision of high capacity CNG buses for mass transit in Nigeria.
Other agreement reads: “Provisions are also being made for initial 55,000 CNG conversion kits to kick start an auto gas conversion programme, while work is ongoing on state-of-the-art CNG stations nationwide. The rollout aims to commence by November with pilots across 10 campuses nationwide.
“The Federal Government plans to implement various tax incentive measures for private sector and the general public.”
On the leadership crises rocking the NURTW and the purported proscription of RTEAN, the Federal Government promised to handle labour matters in line with relevant ILO 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-owned educational institutions was also referred to the Ministry of Labour and Employment for further engagement.
Lalong vowed that the Federal Government would pay N25,000 per month for three months starting from October, 2023 to 15 million households, including vulnerable pensioners.
He assured that the Federal Government would increase its initiatives on subsidised distribution of fertilizers to farmers across the country.
The agreement reads: “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.
“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.
“A joint visitation will be made 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.
“This Memorandum shall be filed with the relevant Court of competent jurisdiction within one week as consent judgment by the Federal Government,” it concluded.
Reacting, Ajaero vowed to revisit the strike option if the agreements were not successfully implemented.
On whether the agreements would be implemented by state governments, he noted that the fuel subsidy removal that informed labour’s action affected all Nigerians, including those in the states and the private sector.