Federal Government and Labour Reach Truce, Suspending Planned Strike for One Month

The nationwide strike that was planned to start on Tuesday, October 3, 2023, by the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and the Trade Union Congress (TUC) has been suspended for 30 days. This came after a series of negotiations with the federal government.

The labour unions had threatened to embark on an indefinite industrial action to protest the removal of subsidy on Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) and the consequent hike in fuel prices.

However, after several hours of deliberations, the parties reached a consensus on some palliative measures that would cushion the impact of the subsidy removal on the Nigerian masses. According to a joint statement signed by Joe Ajaero for the NLC and Festus Osifo for the TUC, the federal government agreed to implement a wage increase of N35,000 for all its workers from September, pending the enactment of a new national minimum wage law.

The statement also revealed that the government agreed to constitute a minimum wage committee within one month from the date of the agreement, and to suspend the collection of Value Added Tax (VAT) on diesel for six months from October, 2023.

Additionally, the government pledged to allocate N100 billion for the procurement of high capacity CNG buses for mass transit in Nigeria, and to provide 55,000 CNG conversion kits for an auto gas conversion programme that would commence in November with pilots across 10 campuses nationwide. The statement expressed optimism that the agreement would foster industrial harmony and national development.

Others include the planned implementation of various tax incentive measures for private sector and the general public.

The Federal Government also assured that it will address the leadership crises in the NURTW and the alleged ban of RTEAN, in accordance with the relevant ILO Conventions and Nigerian Labour Acts. The government expects to reach a resolution of the conflict by or before October 13.

The Federal Government referred the matter of unpaid Salaries and Wages of Tertiary Education workers in Federal-owned educational institutions to the Ministry of Labour and Employment for further action.

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

The Federal Government also promised to expand 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 August 1, 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.

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

Simon Bako Lalong, Minister of Labour and Employment, Nkeiruka Onyejeocha, Minister of State for Labour and Employment and Mohammed Idris, Minister of Information and National Orientation, signed for the federal government