The Organised Labour has agreed to suspend its 30-day indefinite strike, planned to begin on Tuesday, following extensive discussions between the Federal Government and Labour representatives. The resolution was reached during a meeting held at the Presidential Villa in Abuja that lasted over five hours. As part of the agreement, Labour signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the FG, which includes both previous commitments made by the government and new objectives to be achieved within 30 days.
The Minister of Labour and Employment, Simon Lalong, announced the outcome of the meeting to journalists at the State House. He revealed that the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) and the Trade Union Congress (TUC) have agreed to suspend the planned nationwide strike for 30 days, starting from the 3rd of October 2023. One of the key resolutions is the establishment of a minimum wage committee within one month. Additionally, the FG has committed to allocating N100bn to provide high-capacity Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) buses for mass transit in Nigeria.
Furthermore, the government plans to initiate a program to convert vehicles to operate on auto gas. To kickstart this initiative, 55,000 CNG conversion kits will be made available, and state-of-the-art CNG stations will be constructed across the country. The implementation of various tax incentives for the private sector and the general public is also part of the government’s plans. Additionally, the FG has already approved a wage award of N35,000 for all Federal Government workers effective from September, pending the signing of a new national minimum wage into law. The Ministry of Labour and Employment will engage with state governments to ensure wage awards are implemented for their respective workers, as well as for local governments and private sector employees.
In relation to the ongoing leadership crisis within the National Union of Road Transport Workers and the purported proscription of the Road Transport Employers Association of Nigeria, the Federal Government has committed to handling labor matters in compliance with International Labour Organisation Conventions and Nigerian Labor Acts. A resolution to the impasse is expected by or before October 13. The issue of outstanding salaries and wages for tertiary education workers in Federal Government-owned institutions will be referred to the Ministry of Labour and Employment for further engagement.
Moreover, the FG promised to increase its efforts in the distribution of subsidized fertilizers to farmers across the country. The government also expressed its commitment to conduct a joint visitation to the refineries to assess their rehabilitation status. All parties involved have pledged to abide by the principles of social dialogue in all future engagements.
Signatories to the Memorandum of Understanding include the NLC president, Joe Ajaero, the President of the Trade Union Congress of Nigeria, Festus Osifo, and the TUC’s Secretary-General, Nuhu Toro. On the side of the Federal Government, signatories include the Minister of Labour and Employment, Simon Lalong, the Minister of State for Labour and Employment, Nkeiruka Onyejeocha, and the Minister of Information and National Orientation, Mohammed Idris.
However, NLC president, Joe Ajaero, warned that if the agreements are not implemented, the strike option will be revisited. He emphasized that the fuel subsidy removal, which was a significant factor behind Labour’s planned strike, affects all Nigerians, including those in the states and the private sector.