The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and Trade Union Congress (TUC) have decided to suspend the planned indefinite nationwide strike, which was originally set to begin on October 3. This decision came after productive discussions with representatives of the Federal Government at the State House.
The agreements reached during these discussions were formalized in a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed by Joe Ajaero, NLC’s president; Festus Osifo, TUC’s president; and Simon Lalong, Minister of Labour and Employment.
The strike was initially called in protest of the hardship caused by the removal of fuel subsidies. However, following the four-hour meeting on Sunday, President Bola Ahmed Tinubu approved a provisional wage increment of N35,000 for all categories of federal workers.
The key points of the MoU include:
1. Wage Increase: The payment of the N35,000 wage increment will commence from September, pending the formalization of a new national minimum wage.
2. Minimum Wage Committee: Both parties agreed to establish a minimum wage committee within one month from the date of the agreement.
3. CNG Buses: The government committed to allocating N100 billion for the procurement of high-capacity compressed natural gas (CNG) buses for mass transit in Nigeria. This initiative aims to reduce reliance on traditional fuel sources.
4. Auto Gas Conversion: Provision was made for 55,000 CNG conversion kits to initiate an auto gas conversion program. Work on state-of-the-art CNG stations nationwide is also underway, with plans to begin by November.
5. Outstanding Salaries: Outstanding salaries and wages of tertiary education workers in federal-owned educational institutions will be referred to the Labour ministry for further engagement.
6. Refinery Visitation: A joint visitation will be made to the refineries to assess their rehabilitation status.
7. Commitment to Social Dialogue: All parties committed to adhering to the principles of social dialogue in all future engagements.
The MoU also stipulates that it will be filed with the relevant court of competent jurisdiction as a consent judgment by the Federal Government within one week.
This suspension of the nationwide strike provides a window for further negotiations and the implementation of these agreements to address the concerns of the labor unions and ensure a more stable labor environment in Nigeria.