FG, Labour meet over fuel subsidy removal, agree to suspend strike

Written by Benjamin Adewumi

The Federal Government and the leadership of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and Trade Union Congress (TUC) met on Sunday, October 1, 2023 to resolve the dispute arising from the removal of subsidy on Premium Motor Spirit (PMS).

The meeting, which was chaired by the Chief of Staff to the President, Femi Gbajabiamila, was held in Abuja as part of the efforts to avert the planned nationwide strike by the labour unions.

The parties noted the various measures taken by the government to cushion the impact of the reforms, such as the provisional wage increment for low-grade workers, the provision of funds for states and MSMEs, the waiver of VAT on diesel, and the deployment of CNG buses.

They also discussed the issues of monetary policy, tax reform, social safety net and security.

At the end of the meeting, the following resolutions were reached:

  • 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 award 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 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 meeting was attended by several governors, ministers, heads of agencies and security chiefs. The labour delegation was led by NLC President, Joe Ajaero and TUC Deputy President, Dr Tommy Etim Okon.

The Minister of Information and National Orientation, Mohammed Idris, issued a press statement on the outcome of the meeting. He said the meeting was cordial and productive. He expressed optimism that the strike would be called off and normalcy would return to the country.

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