Stephen Ukandu, Umuahia
Dissatisfied with the biting economic situation in the country, the Nigeria Labour Congress; and the Trade Union Congress, Thursday, gave the Federal Government an ultimatum of two weeks to implement the 16-point agenda it reached with the Organised Labour on October 2, 2023, or face nation-wide indefinite strike.
According to Labour, quick implementation of the agreement will help mitigate the sufferings of the masses following the fuel subsidy removal.
Labour also said that it would help find a lasting solution to the devaluation of the naira, among others economic challenges in the country.
The Organised Labour expressed disappointment over the attitude of Government towards the agreement it entered into with Labour.
NLC and TUC, in a statement signed by NLC President, Joe Ajaero, lamented that “it is regrettable that we are compelled to resort to such measures, but the persistent neglect of the welfare of citizens and Nigerian workers and the massive hardship leave us with no choice.”
They further stated: “Constrained by this development and recognising the urgency of the situation and the imperative of ensuring the protection and defence of the rights and dignity of Nigerian workers and citizens, the NLC and TUC hereby issue a stern ultimatum to the Federal Government to honour their part of the understanding within 14 days from tomorrow, the 9th day of February 2024.”
Meanwhile, below are the agreements reached by the government and Organised Labour in October 2023 that:
“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;
“A minimum wage committee shall be inaugurated within one month from the date of this agreement;
“The Federal Government suspends collection of Value Added Tax (VAT) on Diesel for six months beginning from October, 2023;
“The 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;
“The Federal Government plans to implement various tax incentive measures for private sector and the general public;
“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;
“The issue of outstanding Salaries and Wages of Tertiary Education workers in Federal-owned educational institutions is being referred to the Ministry of Labour and Employment for further engagement;
“The Federal Government commits to pay N25,000 per month for three months starting from October, 2023 to 15 million households, including vulnerable pensioners;
“The Federal Government will increase its initiatives on subsidised distribution of fertilizers to farmers across the country;
“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;
“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;
“A joint visitation will be made to the refineries to ascertain their rehabilitation status;
“All parties commit to henceforth abide by the dictates of Social dialogue in all our future engagements;
“The NLC and TUC accept to suspend for 30 days the planned Indefinite Nationwide strike scheduled to begin, Tuesday, the 3rd of October, 2023;
“This Memorandum shall be filed with the relevant Court of competent jurisdiction within one (1) week as consent judgment by the Federal Government.”