President Bola Tinubu has approved N35,000 provisional wage award for all treasury-paid federal government workers for six months, following further consultations with the Federal Government delegation that met with the leadership of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and Trade Union Congress (TUC) earlier this Sunday.
It will be recalled that at the meeting between both parties, the Federal Government pledged its commitment to fast-track the provision of Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) buses to ease public transportation difficulties associated with the removal of petrol subsidy.
The Federal Government also committed to the provision of funds for micro and small-scale enterprises as well as waivers on VAT on diesel for the next six months.
Furthermore, the Federal Government announced that it will commence payment of N75,000 to 15 million households at N25,000 per month for a three-month period from October to December 2023.
LEADERSHIP earlier reported that during the meeting, which was held at the Presidential Villa, Abuja on Sunday, several significant agreements and commitments were reached by both parties.
A statement signed by the Minister of Information and National Orietation, Mohammed Idris, said the extensive discussions led to the following resolutions:
“It was stressed that the outstanding issues can only be resolved when workers are actively engaged in their roles and not during strikes.
“Labour Unions advocated for a higher wage award, and the Federal Government Team assured that Labor’s request would be presented to President Bola Tinubu for further deliberation.
“A sub-committee will be established to work out the implementation details of all items concerning government interventions aimed at mitigating the effects of fuel subsidy removal.
“The ongoing issue between the Road Transport Employees Association of Nigeria (RTEAN) and the National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW) in Lagos State was recognized as requiring urgent attention. Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, who attended virtually, pledged to resolve the matter.
“The NLC and TUC agreed to consider the offers made by the Federal Government, with a view to temporarily suspending the planned strike. This pause will allow for further consultations regarding the implementation of the resolutions mentioned above,” he stated.
The meeting, presided over by the Chief of Staff to the President, Femi Gbajabiamila, saw the participation of Governor Abdulrazak Abdulrahman of Kwara State, Chairman of the Nigeria Governors Forum (NGF), and Governor Dapo Abiodun of Ogun State, who also attended virtually.
Key government officials, including the Minister of Finance and Coordinating Minister of the Economy, Wale Edun, and the Minister of Labour and Employment, Simon Lalong, were present alongside the leadership of the labor unions.
Chief of Staff to the President, Gbajabiamila, speaking to State House correspondents after the meeting, expressed his gratitude to both the government and Labour representatives for their dedication to finding common ground.
The meeting, which lasted approximately four hours, delved into a multitude of concerns affecting Nigerian workers.
Gbajabiamila highlighted several agreements reached during the discussions. These agreements encompassed crucial matters such as the wage bill, committees on salary increments, and the provision of CNG buses, among others.
“A lot of issues were addressed. Issues that concern the Nigerian worker, the average Nigerian worker. I can’t begin to reel them out here.
“But I am happy to say that after four hours, we have reached certain agreements that is for the benefit of the Nigerian worker. Agreements on wage bill, agreements on committees on salary increament, CNG buses, on several other things, I believe, both TUC Labour and government side?
“Importantly, he announced that all categories of workers, regardless of their income level, would benefit from the wage bill, addressing concerns raised on social media.
“There was a lot of chatter on Twitter about the issue of low-income workers only falling into the category of the wage bill.
“They spotted that and we communicated that to Mr President and he quickly say and agreed that all categories of workers will be given the wage bill. There’s nothing like low-income, mid-income or high-income. I think that’s worthy of clarification tonight,” he said .
The Chief of Staff was optimistic about the outcome and encouraged the Labour representatives to convene meetings with their respective branches and executives to present the agreements.
He expressed hope that the strike would be called off by Tuesday, providing relief to the affected workers.
Following Gbajabiamila’s statement, NLC President Joe Ajaero echoed the sentiment that the negotiations had made substantial progress, indicating that they had reviewed government promises and were committed to translating them into practical solutions for workers.
Ajaero emphasized the need for consultation with their labor organizations, indicating that a decision to call off the strike would require approval from the relevant labor organs.
He concurred with the Chief of Staff’s hopeful outlook and described the situation as straightforward.