•Sign 15-point MoU with FG
•Minimum wage committee to be inaugurated within one month
•FG to urge state govts to implement wage awards for their workers
•Accepts to vote N100bn for provision of CNG buses for mass transit
•To implement various tax incentives for private, public sectors
Deji Elumoye and Onyebuchi Ezigbo in Abuja
The two-day meeting between the federal government and the organised labour to resolve the dispute arising from withdrawal of subsidy on price of petrol ended last night with the signing of a 15-point memorandum of understanding (MoU) between the two parties.
The organised labour is made up of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and the Trade Union Congress (TUC).
The Minister of Labour and Employment, Hon Simon Lalong, who read the communique issued at the end of the closed-door meeting held at the State House, Abuja, said following the conclusion of discussions between labour and government, both the NLC and TUC accepted to suspend for 30 days the planned Indefinite nationwide strike previously scheduled to begin today.
On behalf of the federal government, the MoU was signed by Lalong; the Information and National Orientation Minister, Mohammed Idris and Minister of State for Labour and Employment, Hon. Nkiruka Onyejeocha. On the side of the organised labour, the MoU was signed by NLC President, Joe Ajaero and General Secretary, Emmanuel Ugboaja; TUC President, Festus Osifo and Secretary General Nuhu Toro.
Ajaero and Osifo, stated that all parties committed to henceforth abide by the dictates of social dialogue in all our future engagements.
The MoU stated inter alia: “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 NLC and the 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:
“The federal government grants a wage award of N35,000 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.
“Federal government suspends collection of Value Added Tax (VAT) on Diesel for six months beginning from October, 2023.
“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 Ministry of Labour and Employment for further engagement.”
The agreement added: “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.”
It stated further, “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.
Speaking after signing the MoU, the NLC and TUC Presidents said labour will not hesitate to review the agreements if any of them was not implemented after 30 days.