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Looming Nationwide Strike: Labour Issues 14-Day Ultimatum To FG

Labour

The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC)  and the Trade Union Congress (TUC) yesterday gave the Federal Government 14 days ultimatum to implement the 16-point agreement reached on October 2, last year.
Organised labour gave the ultimatum in a statement jointly signed by NLC President Joe Ajaero and his TUC counterpart, Festus Osifo, in Abuja.

The ultimatum, according to the unions, starts today.

But, the Federal Government denied any breach of agreement, saying that it will continue to accord priority to workers’ welfare.

It urged the unions to embrace dialogue, Information and National Orientation Minister Alhaji Mohammed Idris said any strike at this moment would not be in national interest.

Also, the Minister of Labour and Employment,  Nkeiruka Onyejeocha, reiterated government’s determination to honour its agreement with the unions.

Labour and the Federal Government signed a 16-point agreement, which led to the suspension of strike in 2023

The TUC and NLC had threatened an indefinite strike to protest “the cost of living,” following the removal of petroleum subsidy by President Bola Ahmed Tinubu.

Last year, President Tinubu approved the payment of the four months withheld salaries of university teachers.

This was one of the items on the 16- point Memorandum of Understanding (MoU).

The president also gave approval for the payment of N35, 000 wage award to federal workers.

Labour said the government only paid one month of the six months agreed wage award, adding that many civil servants were yet to be paid the N35, 000.

In their joint statement, the two Labour unions said “despite the passage of time, the majority of these crucial agreements remain unmet or negligibly addressed, indicating a blatant disregard for the principles of good faith, welfare and rights of Nigerian workers and Nigerians.”

Labour said the ultimatum was a last resort occasioned by the “persistent neglect of the welfare of citizens and Nigerian workers and the massive hardship in the country.”

It said everything must be done within the two weeks to “avoid a situation where we may be compelled to take appropriate steps to protect Nigerian workers and masses.”

The statement reads: “These agreements which were reached with the Federal Government were focused on addressing the massive suffering and the general harsh socioeconomic consequences of the ill-conceived and ill-executed IMF/World Bank induced hike in the price of PMS and the Devaluation of the Naira. These dual policies have had as we predicted dire economic consequences for the masses and workers of Nigeria.

“Widespread Hunger is now ravishing millions of Nigerians, with the Workers purchasing power significantly eroded, while insecurity has assumed an increasing dimension. Nigerians are left wondering where their next meals will come from and what tomorrow might bring. The level of panic and anxiety among the populace has become nightmarish unfortunately, in the midst of all these, it appears our government is bereft of appropriate measures to ameliorate the huge burden it has foisted on the citizenry.

“We wish to state that these agreements, which encompass a wide range of issues crucial to the well-being of Nigerian masses and workers, have not been honored as pledged by the Federal Government. From Wage Awards, Palliative adjustments to improved access to public utilities; to the meddlesomeness in the internal affairs of the National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW) and the interference by the Lagos State Government in union activities, the case of illegal and unlawful proscription of Road Transport Employers Association of Nigeria RTEAN. The government’s failure to uphold its end of the bargain is deeply regrettable and unacceptable to the working people and the citizenry.

“Constrained by this development and recognising the urgency of the situation and the imperative of ensuring the protection and defense 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.”

She said in a statement that President Tinubu was working hard to address the needs and concerns of the nation.

Onyejeocha said: “The government recognizes the plight of Nigerians and has shown good faith so far in its negotiations with the trade unions. During negotiations, resolutions are carried out in stages. However, government is assuring Nigerians of its continued commitment to addressing labour concerns and consequently fulfilling all agreements.

“One of such efforts is the N35,000 wage award agreed between the government and organised labour, which is currently still being disbursed to Nigerian citizens.

“Additionally, we have also through the Lagos State Government, fulfilled up to 80% of the agreement with the management of Road Transport Employers Association of Nigeria (RTEAN), and there are ongoing efforts to complete the process.

“The government would also like to bring to the public’s attention the 37-member tripartite committee on national minimum wage which was recently inaugurated to recommend a new national minimum wage for Nigerian workers, all in a bid to mitigate the hardship the Nigerian citizens are facing.

“Amidst these developments, the government is actively implementing its plan to go green with the launch and distribution of Compressed Natural Gas (CNG)-powered buses nationwide which is aimed at alleviating transportation challenges arising from subsidy removal.

“Provisions have also been made for an initial 55,000 CNG conversion kits as part of the commencement of the auto gas conversion programme.”

Source: Hardcore News

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