NLC, TUC Suspend Proposed Strike for 30 Days


By Aduragbemi Omiyale

The proposed nationwide indefinite strike threatened by the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and the Trade Union Congress (TUC) scheduled for Tuesday, October 3, 2023, has been suspended.

The organised labour unions put industrial action on hold for 30 days to allow the federal government to implement some of the agreements reached at a last-minute meeting on Monday.

While addressing newsmen in Abuja after the meeting on Monday night, the President of the NLC, Mr Joe Ajaero, said the government has agreed to suspend the collection of Value Added Tax (VAT) on diesel for six months from this month.

He added that it was agreed that a wage award of N35,000 would be given to all FG workers beginning from September 2023, pending when a new national minimum wage is expected to have been signed into law.

The labour leader said the federal government accepts to provide N100 billion to purchase high-capacity CNG buses for mass transit in Nigeria.

In addition, funds would be provided for 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.

It was gathered that 15 points were signed by the parties in the memorandum of understanding.

The signatories were Mr Ajaero, the NLC General Secretary, Mr Emmanuel Ugboaja; TUC President, Mr Festus Osifo; the Secretary General of TUC, Mr Nuhu Toro; the Minister of Labour and Employment, Mr Simon Lalong; the Minister of State for Labour and Employment, Ms Nkeiruka Onyejeocha; and the Minister of Information and National Orientation, Mr Mohammed Idris.

The labour unions threatened the strike to kick against the rise in the cost of living in the country, especially due to fuel subsidy removal and exchange rate unification.

Below is the 15 agreements reached by the parties:

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 the 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 an 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 the 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 the 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 the 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.

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