Organised Labour last night suspended its planned nationwide strike for one month following an agreement with the Federal Government. Though details of the Memorandum of Understanding suspending the strike, were sketchy at the time of this report, the agreement, Vanguard gathered, was reached very late at night.
The meeting was reconvened yesterday for both government and labour to find common ground and avert the planned strike by organized 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.
Vanguard gathered that at the end of the separate NEC meeting, leaders of NLC and TUC set up a committee to harmonise their resolutions to arrive at common ground.
According to the sources, the joint resolution of NLC and TUC was presented to the government team around 5 pm.
But the meeting did not reconvene until 8.15 pm when the government team returned to the chagrin of labour leaders who Vanguard gathered, almost left the venue in anger. 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.