In a statement issued late on October 1, 2023, by Mallam Mohammed Idris, the Minister of Information and National Orientation, the Federal Government of Nigeria and the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) reached five significant resolutions after a crucial meeting held on Sunday, October 1, to address the looming strike threat by organized labor. The primary focus of the discussions was the contentious issue of the removal of fuel subsidies and its impact on the cost of living and public transportation.
The resolutions arrived at during the meeting are as follows:
1. The Federal Government has provisionally announced a wage increment of N25,000 for all treasury-paid federal government workers for a period of six months.
2. The Federal Government has committed to accelerating the provision of Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) buses to alleviate public transportation challenges stemming from the removal of the Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) subsidy.
3. Funds will be provided by the Federal Government to support micro and small-scale enterprises.
4. Value Added Tax (VAT) on diesel will be waived for the next six months.
5. The Federal Government will initiate a payment of N75,000 to 15 million households at N25,000 per month, spanning a three-month period from October to December 2023.
1. Both parties recognized that the ongoing disputes could only be effectively addressed when workers are actively engaged in their jobs rather than being on strike.
2. Labor Unions advocated for a higher wage award, and the Federal Government Team committed to presenting the labor’s request to President Bola Tinubu for further consideration.
3. A sub-committee will be established to work out the detailed implementation of all items for consideration regarding government interventions aimed at cushioning the effects of the fuel subsidy removal.
4. The longstanding issue between the Road Transport Employees Association of Nigeria (RTEAN) and the National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW) in Lagos State was acknowledged and Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, pledged to urgently resolve the matter.
5. NLC and TUC expressed their intention to review and consider the offers made by the Federal Government, potentially leading to the suspension of the planned strike to allow for further consultations on the implementation of the above resolutions.
6. Following the meeting with organized labor, President Bola Tinubu agreed to increase the provisional wage award for all treasury-paid Federal Government workers to N35,000 for a period of six months.
The meeting, chaired by the Chief of Staff to the President, Femi Gbajabiamila, was attended by several key government officials, including the Minister of Finance and Coordinating Minister of the Economy, Wale Edun, the Minister of Labour and Employment, Simon Lalong, and other relevant ministers and officials. The labor delegation was led by NLC President, Joe Ajaero, and TUC Deputy President, Dr. Tommy Etim Okon, among other prominent representatives.
This development marks a significant step towards resolving the ongoing dispute and demonstrates the government’s commitment to addressing the concerns raised by labor unions regarding the removal of fuel subsidies. Further consultations and negotiations are expected to follow, with the potential for a suspension of the planned strike pending the outcomes of these discussions.