In a significant development, the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and the Trade Union Congress (TUC) have decided to suspend their planned indefinite nationwide strike, scheduled to begin on Tuesday, October 3, 2023, for a period of 30 days.
This decision followed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) reached between the Organised Labour and the Federal Government of Nigeria at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, on Monday night.
Recall that a strike notice had been issued by the NLC and TUC in response to the withdrawal of subsidy on Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) or petrol by the Federal Government, leading to an increase in fuel prices.
Key points of the MoU include: “The Federal Government’s commitment to a wage award of N35,000 for all Federal Government workers, starting from September, until a new national minimum wage is enacted
“The establishment of a minimum wage committee within one month from the date of the agreement.
“Suspension of Value Added Tax (VAT) collection on Diesel for six months, starting in October 2023.
“Allocation of N100 billion for the provision of high-capacity Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) buses for mass transit, along with CNG conversion kits and stations nationwide, aiming to commence by November.
“Implementation of various tax incentives for the private sector and the general public.”
Others include “commitment to resolve leadership crises within the NURTW (National Union of Road Transport Workers) and address issues regarding the purported proscription of RTEAN (Road Transport Employers’ Association of Nigeria).
“Referral of the outstanding salaries and wages of tertiary education workers in federal-owned educational institutions to the Ministry of Labour and Employment for further engagement.
“Payment of N25,000 per month for three months, starting in October 2023, to 15 million households, including vulnerable pensioners.
“Expansion of initiatives for the subsidized distribution of fertilizers to farmers nationwide.
“Encouragement of state governments, local governments, and the private sector to implement wage awards for their workers.
“Commitment to provide funds for Micro and Small Scale Enterprises (MSMEs) and a focus on creating decent jobs.
“A joint visitation to the refineries to assess their rehabilitation status.
Also there was a commitment by all parties to follow the principles of social dialogue in future engagements.”
The MoU will be filed with the relevant Court of competent jurisdiction as a consent judgment by the Federal Government within one week.
The MoU was signed by NLC president, Joe Ajaero, general secretary of NLC, Emmanuel Ugboaja, President and Secretary of TUC, Festus Osifo, and Nuhu A. Toro, respectively on the part of Organised Labour.
On the federal government’s side was the minister of Labour, Simon Lalong, minister of State for Labour, Nkeiruka Onyejeocha, and minister of Information, Mohammed Idris.