Labour Capitulate, Suspend Strike
Citing assurances and seeming sincerity on the part of the Federal Government to review recent increases in fuel pump price and electricity tariffs, the Nigerian Labour Congress, NLC and the Trade Union Congress, TUC, have suspended the planned industrial strike action scheduled to commence today across the country.
Coming after months of economic lockdown following the outbreak of the Covid19 Pandemic, Nigerians, worn out by tirades of failed promises by governments at Federal, State and Local Government Levels are determined to carry on with their lives and businesses.
After exhaustive deliberations on the issues raised by Labour Centres, the FGN stated that it has fashioned out palliatives that would ameliorate the sufferings that Nigerian workers may experience as a result of the cost – reflective Electricity Tariff adjustments and deregulation of the downstream sector of the Petroleum Industry. The palliatives will be in the areas of transport, power, housing, agriculture and humanitarian support.
The government and Labour have agreed to set up a Technical Committee comprising Ministries, Departments, Agencies, NLC and TUC, which will work for a duration of two weeks effective Monday 28th September 2020, to examine the justifications for the new policy in view of the need for the validation of the basis for the new cost reflective tariff as a result of the conflicting information from the fields which appeared different from the data presented to justify the new policy by NERC; metering deployment, challenges and timeline for rollout.
To cushion the impacts of the downstream sector deregulation and tariffs adjustment in the power sector, the Federal Government will implement a specific amount to be unveiled by the FGN in two weeks time will be isolated from the Economic Sustainability Programme Intervention Fund and be accessed by Nigerian Workers with subsequent provision for 240,000 under the auspices of NLC and TUC for participation in agricultural ventures through the CBN and the Ministry of Agriculture. The timeline will be fixed at the next meeting.
Federal Government will facilitate the removal of tax on minimum wage as a way of cushioning the impacts of the policy on the lowest vulnerable.
Federal Government will make available to organized labour 133 CNG/LPG driven mass transit buses immediately and provide to the major cities across the Country on a scale up basis thereafter to all States and Local Governments before December 2021.
On housing, the federal government said 10% will be allocated to Nigerian workers under the ongoing Ministry of Housing and Finance initiative through the NLC and TUC.
Labour accepted these and other offers made by government and the NLC and TUC agreed to suspend the planned industrial action.