Nigeria’s organized labour comprising the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and the Trade Union Congress (TUC), have once again, suspended the nationwide indefinite strike that was scheduled to begin on Tuesday, October 3rd, by 30 days.
The leadership of the two unions who announced the suspension of the strike at the end of a marathon meeting with representatives the Federal Government’s in Abuja on Monday night, said the decision to suspend the indefinite strike which was aimed at protesting the hardship Nigerians are going through as a result of the removal of fuel subsidy by the federal government, was due to some agreements reached with the government.
The unions had also held a meeting with government on Sunday night and promised to present a fresh list of offers from the federal government to their various organs before taking a final position on the strike.
The Sunday meeting had seen the government resolving to waive the Value Added Tax (VAT) on diesel for six months as well as fast-track the introduction of Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) buses to address the problem of transpiration arising from the removal of fuel subsidy, among other measures.
At the Monday night meeting, a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed by the NLC President, Joe Ajaero, General Secretary, Emmanuel Ugboaja as well as the TUC President, Festus Osifo, and Secretary General, Nuhu Toro.
Minister of Labour and Employment, Simon Lalong, Minister of State for Labour and Employment, Dr. Nkeiruka Onyejeocha; and Minister of Information and National Orientation, Mohammed Idris, appended the document on behalf of the federal government.
Announcing the outcome of the meeting, 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.”
According to terms of the agreement, the government agreed to grant a wage award of N35,000 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.
Parts of agreement reads:
“The NLC and TUC accept to suspend for 30 days the planned Indefinite Nationwide strike scheduled to begin, Tuesday, the 3rd of October, 2023.
“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 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 should urge state governments 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. A joint visitation will be made to the refineries to ascertain their rehabilitation status.”