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Government and Labour Agree to Suspend Planned Strike

In an effort to avert a nationwide strike scheduled for October 3, the Federal Government of Nigeria engaged in negotiations with representatives of organized labour. The impending strike was prompted by the removal of the fuel subsidy and the subsequent increase in petrol prices.

The negotiations spanned several meetings, including one held on Sunday and another that continued late into Monday night. The government, led by Chief of Staff to the President, Hon Femi Gbajabiamila, and Minister of Labour and Employment, Hon Simon Lalong, outlined measures to alleviate the impact of the fuel subsidy removal on workers. The labour delegation, headed by NLC President Comrade Joe Ajaero, participated in these discussions.

Key agreements reached during the negotiations include:

  • A wage award of N35,000 for all Federal Government workers, effective from September, until a new national minimum wage is formally enacted.
  • The inauguration of a minimum wage committee within one month from the date of the agreement.
  • The suspension of Value Added Tax (VAT) collection on Diesel for six months, commencing in October 2023.
  • A commitment from the Federal Government to provide N100 billion for the acquisition of high-capacity Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) buses for mass transit. Additionally, there will be an initial distribution of 55,000 CNG conversion kits, with a planned rollout in November, featuring pilot programs on 10 campuses nationwide.
  • Plans to implement various tax incentive measures for the private sector and the general public.
  • Resolution of leadership crises within the National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW) and the purported proscription of the Road Transport Employers Association of Nigeria (RTEAN), with a commitment to addressing these labor matters in line with relevant International Labor Organization (ILO) conventions and Nigerian labor laws. A resolution is expected before October 13.
  • The referral of outstanding salaries and wages issues for tertiary education workers in federal-owned educational institutions to the Ministry of Labour and Employment for further engagement.
  • Provision 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 across the country.
  • Encouragement for state governments, through the National Economic Council and Governors Forum, to implement wage awards for their workers, with similar considerations for local government and private sector workers.
  • Commitment to providing funds for Micro and Small Scale Enterprises, as previously announced by the President on August 1, 2023, with beneficiaries expected to uphold the principle of decent jobs.
  • A joint visitation to assess the status of refinery rehabilitation.
  • A pledge by all parties to uphold the principles of social dialogue in future engagements.
  • Agreement to suspend the planned indefinite nationwide strike for 30 days, starting from October 3, 2023.
  • Filing of the Memorandum of Understanding with the relevant Court of competent jurisdiction within one week as a consent judgment by the Federal Government.

This agreement represents a significant development in efforts to resolve the ongoing labor dispute and prevent the impending strike action, offering hope for the alleviation of economic challenges facing the nation.

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