March 3, 2024

The threats of an indefinite strike earlier issued by the organised labour, which should have kicked off October 3rd has been suspended.

It was gathered that all the stakeholders to the agreement came to a compromise, following the N35,000 wage package the Federal Government dished out to workers across the federal civil service cadres.

Beyond the wage award which is expected to last for six months, government compromised its position agreeing to fast-track the provision of Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) buses to ease public transportation difficulties associated with the removal of PMS subsidy.

The Government also pledged the provision of funds for micro and small-scale enterprises as well as waivers on VAT on diesel for the next 6 months.

The administration also bowed to pressures from Labour and announced that it will commence payment of N75,000 to 15 million households at N25,000 per month, for a three-month period from October-December 2023.

On the lingering matter of Road Transport Employees Association of Nigeria (RTEAN) and National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW) in Lagos State they all agreed that it needs to be addressed urgently.

All these culminated in NLC and TUC considering 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.

Recall that the organised Labour had threatened to embark on strike beginning from October 3rd, 2023 in protect of the pains Nigerians were going through as a result of the fuel subsidy removal policy of the government.

They had on September 5 and 6 embarked on a two day warning strike hoping that it would compel government to meet their demands part of which centred around poor palliative measures to cushion the fuel subsidy removal policy.

President Bola Tinubu had taken to his Independence Day Broadcast to Nigerians on Sunday to announce a N25,000 additional salary award to low cadre workers, but after labour rejected the offer, the Federal Government announced a further increase of N35,000 across all staff cadre in the civil service.

Minister of Labour and Employment, Simon Lalong read out the agreement which culminated in the suspension of the planned strike.

The communique reads: “Arising from the withdrawal of subsidy on Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) by the Federal Government and the resultant increase in the price of the commodity, the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and the Trade Union Congress (TUC) issued a strike notice which had elapsed and they were poised to embark on a strike billed to commence on Tuesday, the 3rd of October, 2023.

“Consequently, a meeting was called by the Federal Government to avert the strike and after much discussion, the following agreements were reached:

“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.

“A minimum wage committee shall be inaugurated within one month from the date of this agreement.

“Federal Government suspends collection of Value Added Tax (VAT) on Diesel for six months beginning from October, 2023.

“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.

“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 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.

“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.

“The Federal Government commits to pay N25,000 per month for three months starting from October, 2023 to 15 million households, including vulnerable pensioners.

“The Federal Government will increase its initiatives on subsidized distribution of fertilizers to farmers across the country.

“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.

“The NLC and TUC accept to suspend for 30 days the planned Indefinite Nationwide strike scheduled to begin, Tuesday, the 3rd of October, 2023.

“This Memorandum shall be filed with the relevant Court of competent jurisdiction within one (1) week as consent judgment by the Federal Government.”

The agreement was signed by the Minister of Labour and Employment, and executive members of the NLC and TUC respectively.

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