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Strike ultimatum: FG meets labor unions, pledges to resume payment of wage award

Strike ultimatum: The Federal Government has assured the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and the Trade Union Congress (TUC) of resuming the payment of wage awards to workers this week.

Minister of State, Labour and Employment, Mrs Nkeiruka Onyejeocha, gave the assurance at a meeting with the leadership of NLC and TUC on Tuesday in Abuja.

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The meeting was called by the minister on account of the 14-day ultimatum issued to the government on the non-implementation of the 16-point agreement reached with them on 2 October 2023.

Onyejeocha appealed to the labour organisations to withdraw their 14-day ultimatum, as the government had stepped up efforts to complete the implementation of that agreement.

According to her, it is true we entered into an agreement, but the government has shown good faith, and considering the urgency of the issue at hand.

“I called this meeting because dialogue has always been the best way out, and we are all for the well-being of our people. I am here to show good cause on why some agreement has not been met,” she said.

Onyejeocha noted that the reaction of the Labour organisations was not unwarranted in the face of the government’s non-completion of the agreement.

She said that some items in the agreement could only be achieved in stages.

She, however, expressed the hope that the discussion would lead to the withdrawal of the ultimatum by labour.

The minister assured labour of Mr President’s sincerity of purpose and unflinching dedication to the implementation of that agreement.

Onyejeocha also assured them that President Tinubu would leave no stone unturned to satisfy the demands of the labour organisations.

According to her, “I want to promise that the government would keep working towards the complete implementation of the agreement and I therefore request the Labour unions to withdraw their ultimatum.

“I plead with you to sheath your sword. We have been showing good faith; it is just that it is not commensurate with your expectations

“But I promise you that we will surpass your expectations this time, and I believe that everything will go well,” she said.

Also, Mr Michael Oluwagbemi, Programme Director and Chief Executive of the Presidential Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) initiative, who spoke virtually noted that the government had made 70 per cent payment for the new CNG buses and kits.

Oluwagbemi said that some of the buses were ready. They expect to start assembling others locally, including the tricycles, between March and April 2024.

President of NLC, Joe Ajaero
President of NLC, Joe Ajaero
Speaking, the NLC President, Mr. Joe Ajaero, called on the Federal Government to be committed to beating the deadline of the 14-day ultimatum that started on Feb. 9, 2024, by ensuring the implementation of that agreement.

Ajaero insisted on their resolve to stand by their ultimatum.

He added that every party to the agreement should endeavour to live up to expectations for the interest of Nigerians and the government.

Ajaero said that organised labour would always fulfil its part of the bargain, so long as the federal government would do the same.

Also, Mr Tommy Okon, First Deputy President of TUC, also expressed disappointment with the federal government’s gradual approach to the implementation of the signed agreement.

“We have a lot of respect for you, Hon. Minister, that’s why we are here. We don’t need to beg the government to do what is right.

“Let me tell you, we, the organised labour, are the ones managing crisis in this country for the government; if not, we wouldn’t be here today discussing these issues,” he said.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the meeting agreed on an immediate joint inspection visit to the Port Harcourt Refinery.

This will enable Labour to confirm the reported progress made in getting the refinery back into operation.

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