The Federal Government, on Sunday, 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), which unions have threatened to proceed on an indefinite strike October 3.
According to a statement by the minister of Information and National Orientation Mallam Mohammed Idris, the Federal Government announced N25,000 only as provisional wage increment for all treasury-paid federal government workers for six months.
The minister explained that under the agreement reached, Government is also committed to fast-tracking the provision of Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) buses to ease public transportation difficulties associated with the removal of PMS subsidy as well as the provision of funds for micro and small-scale enterprises.
Government has also agreed that VAT on diesel will be waived for the next 6 months, while it commence the payment of N75,000 to 15 million households at N25,000 per month, for a three-month period from October-December 2023.
After meeting presided by the Chief of Staff to the President, Femi Gbajabiamila at the presidential villa, Abuja, both parties agreed that issues in dispute can only be resolved when workers are at work and not when they are on strike.
Labour is expected to meet with their various organs to consider the offer of the government on the next possible actions to take regarding their planned strike. Indications are however rife that they may yield to the plea of the government.
During Sunday’s meeting, 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.
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.
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.
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.
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, Dr Tommy Etim Okon, Deputy President, TUC, NLC General Secretary, Emma Ugboaja, TUC General Secretary, Nuhu Toro, among others.