Labour suspends planned strike for one month

The Organised labour has suspended its planned nationwide strike for one month after reaching an agreement with the Federal Government.

The organised labour and the FG met again following am initial meeting on Sunday which met a deadlock.

The meeting was reconvened yesterday for both government and labour to find common ground and avert the planned strike by organised labour to force the government to address the suffering and pains of Nigerians, occasioned by the petrol subsidy removal.

Earlier yesterday, the National Executive Council, NEC, of NLC and its TUC’s counterpart, had met separately to review Sunday’s meeting with the Federal Government’s offers.

A joint resolution of the NLC and TUC was presented to the government team around 5 pm.

Recall that President Bola Tinubu had on Sunday evening succumbed to the N35,000, provisional wage award demanded by labour after his initial N25,000 for the average low-grade worker to run for six months was rejected.

Instead, labour insisted that the wage award should be across the board and run till a new minimum wage expected to be negotiated next year is put in place.

A statement issued by the Minister of Information and National Orientation, Mohammed Idris explained that some of the resolutions reached at the Sunday meeting were that, “the issues in dispute can only be resolved when workers are at work and not when they are on strike.

“Labour unions argued for higher wage awards 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 the 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,” the statement said.

Members of the organized labour team present are, the NLC President, Joe Ajaero, his TUC counterpart, Festus Osifo, the NLC General Secretary, Emma Ugbaja, the TUC Secretary General, Nuhu Toro among others.

On the government team are the National Security Adviser, NSA, Nuhu Ribadu, the Minister of Finance, Wale Edun, Minister of Information and National Orientation, Mohammed Idris, and the Minister of State for Labour, Nkeiruka Onyejecha.

Pressure built up last week over plans by the organised labour as both governmental and political bodies seeking to talk out the major unions, the NLC and the TUC, from plans to embark on the indefinite strike set for Tuesday, October 03 2023, heightened efforts with various approaches.

The organised labour was on Thursday overwhelmed with pleas from political and government bodies at the instance to convince the unions from embarking on a nationwide industrial action, which they argued would not benefit the Country.

The National Economic Council (NEC) last Thursday had urged the organised labour to reconsider its decision.

Recall the NLC and TUC had jointly on Tuesday, September 26, declared the resolve to begin an indefinite strike on Tuesday, October 3, in protest against what has been described as anti-people policies by the new President Bola Tinubu led Federal Government, particularly over the hardship that has trailed the removal of subsidy payment on premium motor spirit (PMS), popularly called petrol.

Suspense further built up over the planned action when the leadership of the Labour Party (LP) last Wednesday threw its weight of support behind the planned industrial action of the unions, saying the presidency has been insensitive to the plight of Nigerian workers.

The organised Labour had threatened to ground activities nationwide from October 3 following the failure of the government to successfully implement policies to alleviate the sufferings of the masses after the removal of fuel subsidy.

“It’s going to be a total shutdown…until the government meets the demand of Nigerian workers, and in fact Nigerian masses,” the union leaders affirmed in a joint statement.

They said, “The Federal Government has refused to meaningfully engage and reach agreements with organised labour on critical issues of the consequences of the unfortunate hike in the price of petrol which has unleashed massive suffering on Nigeria workers and masses.”

After the 21-day ultimatum given by the NLC lapsed last week, the NLC National President, Joe Ajaero, had lamented that none of the demands put before the Federal Government was addressed.

Among other things, the NLC and the TUC are asking for wage awards, implementation of palliatives, tax exemptions and allowances to public sector workers and a review of the minimum wage.

In a statement last Wednesday, by its National Publicity Secretary, Obiora Ifoh titled ‘Workers strike: Labour Party identifies with Nigerian workers’ the Labour Party bemoaned that Nigerian workers have shown enough patience and understanding.

While charging supporters of the party to stock up on food, the party warned that the leadership of LP will support any legitimate means to demand better welfare for Nigerian workers.

Recall Nigerian NewsDirect had reported how the meetings held between the Federal Government and the NLC ended in deadlock without clear direction on cancellation of the strike.

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