Officials of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and the Trade Union Congress (TUC) will meet today to consider the offers made by the federal government during intensive discussions between both parties in the ongoing dispute arising from the removal of the subsidy on Premium Motor Spirit (PMS), LEADERSHIP learnt last night.
During a meeting held at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, yesterday, several agreements were reached.
Meanwhile, 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 government delegation that met with the leadership of NLC) and TUC) earlier on Sunday.
It would be recalled that at the meeting between both parties, the federal government pledged its commitment to expediting the deployment of Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) buses to alleviate the public transportation challenges triggered by the removal of the PMS subsidy.
There is also funding support for micro and small-scale enterprises, VAT waiver on diesel for the next six months, payment of N75,000 to 15 million households for a three-month period from October to December 2023 at N25,000 per month, resolution of the ongoing issue between the Road Transport Employees Association of Nigeria (RTEAN) and the National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW) in Lagos State, among others.
The federal government, however, said outstanding issues can only be resolved when workers are actively engaged in their roles and not during strike.
According to it, the NLC and TUC agreed to consider the offers made by the federal government, with a view to temporarily suspending the planned strike to allow for further consultations regarding the implementation of the resolutions mentioned above.
Gbajabiamila, who presided over the meeting, told State House correspondents after the meeting that several agreements reached during the discussions encompassed crucial matters such as the wage bill, committees on salary increments, and the provision of CNG buses, among others.
Importantly, he announced that all categories of workers, regardless of their income level, would benefit from the wage bill, a response to 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 said 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.
He encouraged the labour representatives to convene meetings with their respective branches and executives to present the agreements just as he expressed hope that the strike would be called off by Tuesday.
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 stressed the need for consultation with their labour organisations, and asserted that a decision to call off the strike would require approval from the relevant labour organs.
He concurred with the chief of staff’s hopeful outlook and described the situation as straightforward.