July 20, 2024

Labour unions in Nigeria give reasons why they suspend proposed indefinite strike

The Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC, and the Trade Union Congress, TUC, have announced the immediate suspension of their proposed indefinite strike set to commence today, Tuesday, October 3, 2023

The two main organised labour unions in the country made the announcement following a series of meetings held between the unions and the Federal Government.

The union explained in a memorandum of understanding that they will be suspending the strike for 30 days to give the government the opportunity to implement some of its promises to the unions.

President Bola Ahmed Tinubu has been facing intense pressure to ease the economic downturn in Nigeria following the removal of petrol subsidy and the poor performance of the naira against the US dollar, leading to rising prices in Africa’s biggest economy.

Among other concessions to prevent the strike, the administration agreed to a temporary salary increment for government workers, a three-month income support for 15 million poor households, and a suspension of a value-added tax on diesel.

The memorandum of understanding reads:

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.

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