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NLC, TUC suspend strike for 1 week

By KEMI KASUMU

The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and the Trade Union Congress (TUC) have suspended their industrial action for one week, as there still has been no consensus reached with Federal Government on a new minimum wage and the hike in electricity tariff.

The TUC President, Mr Festus Osifo, confirmed this in Abuja on Tuesday after a joint extraordinary national executive council meeting of the unions.

“A joint NEC meeting of TUC/NLC has approved to relax the industrial action for one week with immediate effect,” Osifo told Channels Television.

A communique will be issued later, the labour chief said.

Both unions downed tools on Monday to register their grievances over the hike in electricity tariff and lack of consensus on a new minimum wage.

The development ground activities in critical sectors of the economy with schools, businesses, hospitals, and airports shut. The national grid was also shut down, throwing the nation into darkness.

Labour’s actions followed the expiration of the May 31 deadline for an agreement on a new minimum wage. They have been locked in negotiations with the Federal Government.

During the failed talks with the government, labour rejected three government offers, the latest being ₦60,000. The TUC and the NLC subsequently pulled out of negotiations, insisting on ₦494,000 as the new minimum wage.

But in a bid to halt the strike, the Federal Government and the labour leaders held an hours-long meeting that dovetailed into the night.

The Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) George Akume, the Minister of Labour and Employment (State) and her Information and National Orientation counterpart Mohammed Idris, TUC’s Osifo and the President of the NLC Joe Ajaero were among the persons present at the meeting.

At the end of the parley, though labour said NLC and TUC would meet to decide the next action, they reached some resolutions including the government’s resolve to pay above ₦60,000, and a regular meeting between the parties.

They also resolved “that no worker would be victimized as a result of the industrial action”.

Read full communique:

COMMUNIQUE OF THE JOINT NATIONAL EXECUTIVE COUNCIL (NEC) MEETING OF THE NIGERIA LABOUR CONGRESS (NLC) AND TRADE UNION CONGRESS (TUC) HELD ON TUESDAY THE 4TH OF JUNE 2024 AT THE OLAITAN OYERINDE HALL, NLC’S NATIONAL HEADQUARTERS, ABUJA

Following the successful commencement of the indefinite nationwide strike action initiated by the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and the Trade Union Congress (TUC) on June 3, 2024, the National Executive Councils (NEC) of both organizations convened a joint meeting to deliberate on the recent offer from the Federal Government of Nigeria concerning a higher national minimum wage at a meeting which lasted several hours yesterday. The NEC also reviewed the government’s position on other critical demands, particularly the reversal of the electricity tariff hike and the cessation of the discriminatory classification of electricity consumers into Bands.

The NEC-in-session further examined the circumstances behind our withdrawal from the Tripartite national minimum wage negotiation process within the context of the behaviour of the federal government towards the exercise and the content of the Understanding reached with organised Labour.

The NEC critically examined the following key issues:
1. The Federal Government’s proposal to commit to a higher national minimum wage.
2. The ongoing demands for the reversal of the electricity tariff hike back to N66/kwh.
3. The demand for the stoppage of the apartheid classification of electricity consumers into Bands.
4. The reasons for withdrawing from the Tripartite Committee for the Negotiation of the National Minimum Wage
5. The content of the memorandum of understanding reached with the Federal Government at the meeting of Monday, the 3rd of June, 2024

On the National Minimum Wage: The NEC-in-Session acknowledges the personal offer by the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria; His Excellency Senator Bola Ahmed Tinubu to commit to a higher National Minimum Wage above the N60,000 (Sixty thousand Naira) on offer.

On Electricity Tariff Hike and Classification: The NEC-in-Session is deeply disappointed by the government’s silence and lack of concrete action regarding the reversal of the electricity tariff hike and the abolition of the apartheid classification of electricity consumers into Bands. The NEC reaffirms that these issues are critical to alleviating the financial burden on Nigerian workers and the general populace. The electricity tariff hike and discriminatory Band classification remain unacceptable and must be addressed alongside the wage increase.

On The Reason for Withdrawing from the Wage Setting Process: The NEC-insession frowned at the refusal of the federal government to go beyond the N60,000 (Six thousand Naira) at the ongoing national minimum wage negotiation exercise which compelled our withdrawal.

On The Agreement with the Federal Government: The NEC-in-session affirms that the federal government has agreed that their offer of N60,000 (Sixty thousand Naira) was not sufficient and has therefore shown commitment to making better Wage offer to Nigerian workers and reaching agreement on the same within one week.

In view of the deliberations, the NEC-in-session resolved as follows:

1. There is a greater need to create the right ambience for negotiation to continue unhindered. The indefinite nationwide strike action is therefore relaxed for One Week from today to allow the Federal Government commit to a concrete and acceptable National Minimum Wage; take definitive steps to reverse the electricity tariff hike back to N66/kwh and abolish the discriminatory classification of electricity consumers into Bands.

2. The NLC and TUC National Leadership are mandated to continue to maintain open channels of communication with the Federal Government to negotiate and secure favourable outcomes for Nigerian workers and people.

3. All affiliate unions and State Councils are therefore directed to Relax the indefinite nationwide strike and return to their respective workplaces immediately.

The NEC-in-Session expresses profound gratitude to Nigerian workers and the general public for their unwavering support and solidarity in this critical struggle for improved living and working conditions.

The NLC and TUC remain committed to pursuing all necessary actions to protect the rights and welfare of all Nigerian people and workers as we urge all to await further directives while the negotiation continues.

Comrade Joe Ajaero Esq (President NLC)

Comrade Engr. Festus Osifo (President TUC)

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