Two major Nigerian labour unions have suspended the nationwide strike they were to commence on Tuesday to pressure the government to address the hardships occasioned by the removal of subsidy on petrol.
Both the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and the Trade Union Congress (TUC), coalitions of various workers unions, have been battling the federal government over the fallout of the subsidy removal which President Bola Tinubu announced in his inauguration speech on 29 May.
Since the removal of the subsidy, the petrol pump price which was selling at less than N200 per litre has increased to over N600 per litre, leading to an increase in the cost of transportation, food and other basic needs and services which millions of Nigerians depend on.
The labour unions announced their decision to suspend their strike in a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed by the representatives of the labour unions and the federal government late on Monday.
According to the MoU, the unions will now suspend their strike by 30 days, with parties to the agreement committing “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,” the MoU shared with PREMIUM TIMES late Monday, read in part.
The MoU also stipulated that the document shall be filed in “relevant court of competent jurisdiction within one (1) week as consent judgment by the Federal Government.”
The document was signed by NLC representatives – its president, Joe Ajaero, and the secretary, Emmanuel Ughoaja – as well as TUC representatives – its president, Festus Usifo, and general secretary, Emmanuel Ugboaja.
Officials who signed the agreement on behalf of the federal government are the Minister of Labour and Employment, Simon Bako Lalong; the Minister of State for Labour and Employment, Nkeiruka Onyejeocha and the Minister of Information and National Orientation, Mohammed Idris.
The MoU contains terms and conditions both sides had earlier agreed on.
Among them is the granting of a wage award of N35,000 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”.
Another of the terms is that “a minimum wage committee shall be inaugurated within one month from the date of this agreement.”
The federal government, under the agreement, is also expected to suspend the collection of Value Added Tax (VAT) on diesel for six months beginning from October 2023.
READ THE FULL MOU BELOW:
MEMORANDUM OF UNDERSTANDING REACHED BETWEEN THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT OF NIGERIA AND THE NIGERIA LABOUR CONGRESS (NLC) AND TRADE UNION CONGRESS OF NIGERIA (TUC) AS A RESULT OF DISPUTE ARISING FROM WITHDRAWAL OF SUBSIDY ON THE PRICE OF PREMIUM MOTOR SPIRIT (PMS) ON MONDAY, THE 2ND DAY OF OCTOBER, 2023
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:
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 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 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 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 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 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.
Comrade Joe Ajaero Comrade Emmanuel Ugboaja, mni
President NLC General Secretary
Comrade (Engr) Festus Osifo Comrade Nuhu A. Toro
President Secretary General
H.E. Simon Bako Lalong
Honourable Minister of Labour and Employment
Hon. Dr Nkeiruka Onyejeocha
Honourable Minister of State for Labour and Employment
Mallam Mohammed Idris
Honourable Minister of Information and National Orientation
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