A government delegation Sunday met with leaders of labour unions with a view to averting the nationwide strike scheduled to commence on Tuesday.
The meeting was held a few hours after President Bola Tinubu addressed Nigerians on the occasion of Nigeria’s 63rd Independence Anniversary.
During his address, Mr Tinubu pledged the payment of N25,000 allowance to junior federal civil servants for six months as part of efforts to ameliorate the impact of the removal of petrol subsidy.
However, during the meeting between the labour unions and the government delegation, the government told the union leaders that the allowance would be meant for all civil servants, information minister Mohammed Idris said in a statement.
“The Federal Government has announced N25,000 only as provisional wage increment for all treasury-paid federal government workers for six months,” Mr Idris wrote.
In his speech Sunday morning, Mr Tinubu also announced that the government will increase by 15 million people the number of beneficiaries of the conditional cash transfer scheme of the federal government.
Mr Idris provided more information on that in his statement.
“The federal government will commence payment of N75,000 to 15 million households at N25,000 per month, for a three-month period from October-December 2023,” the minister wrote.
At the meeting, the labour unions “argued for higher wage award and the Federal Government Team promised to present Labour’s request to President Bola Tinubu for further consideration.”
However, rather than announce a suspension of the strike, “NLC and TUC will consider the offers by the Federal Government with a view to suspending the planned strike to allow for further consultations on the implementation of the resolutions above,” the minister said.
The labour unions are scheduled to commence the strike on Tuesday to protest the hardship caused by the removal of subsidy on petrol. President Bola Tinubu announced the removal of subsidy on petrol on 29 May during his inauguration as president. Since then, the price of petrol has increased by about 200 per cent across Nigeria and has led to an increase in the prices of goods and services.
Sunday’s meeting was attended by a labour team that included the president of the NLC and the deputy president of the TUC. The government team included the chief of staff to the Nigerian President, the finance minister and other senior officials.
Read the full statement by the minister below.
The Federal Government, on Sunday, October 1, 2023 met with the leadership of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and Trade Union Congress (TUC) on measures to address the dispute arising from the removal of subsidy on Premium Motor Spirit (PMS).
The parties noted the following:
i) The Federal Government has announced N25,000 only as provisional wage increment for all treasury-paid federal government workers for six months.
ii) The Federal Government is committed to fast-tracking the provision of Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) buses to ease public transportation difficulties associated with the removal of PMS subsidy.
iii) The Federal Government commits to the provision of funds for micro and small-scale enterprises.
iv) VAT on diesel will be waived for the next 6 months.
v) The Federal Government will commence payment of N75,000 to 15 million households at N25,000 per month, for a three-month period from October-December 2023.
In light of the discussions held during the meeting, the following resolutions were reached:
i) The issues in dispute can only be resolved when workers are at work and not when they are on strike.
ii) Labour Unions argued for higher wage award and the Federal Government Team promised to present Labour’s request to President Bola Tinubu for further consideration.
iii) A sub-committee to be constituted to work out the details of implementation of all items for consideration regarding government interventions to cushion the effect of fuel subsidy removal.
iv) The lingering matter of Road Transport Employees Association of Nigeria (RTEAN) and National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW) in Lagos State needs to be addressed urgently and Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, who participated virtually, pledged to resolve the matter.
v) NLC and TUC will consider the offers by the Federal Government with a view to suspending the planned strike to allow for further consultations on the implementation of the resolutions above.
Governor Abdulrazak Abdulrahman of Kwara State and Chairman of the Nigeria Governors Forum (NGF) and Governor Dapo Abiodun of Ogun State, participated virtually in the meeting, chaired by the Chief of Staff to the President, Femi Gbajabiamila.
Also in attendance were the Minister of Finance and Coordinating Minister of the Economy, Wale Edun, the Minister of Information and National Orientation, Mohammed Idris, the Minister of Labour and Employment, Simon Lalong, the Minister of State, Labour, Nkeiruka Onyejeocha, the Minister of Budget and Economic Planning, Abubakar Atiku Bagudu, the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs and Poverty Alleviation, Betta Edu, the Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Doris Uzoka-Anite, the Head of Service of the Federation, Dr. Folasade Yemi-Esan and the National Security Adviser (NSA), Mallam Nuhu Ribadu.
The labour delegation was led by NLC President, Joe Ajaero, Deputy President, TUC, Dr Tommy Etim Okon, NLC General Secretary, Emma Ugboaja, TUC General Secretary, Nuhu Toro, among others.
Mallam Mohammed Idris
Minister of Information and National Orientation
October 1, 2023
culled from Premium Times Nigeria