The unions will now suspend their strike by 30 days, with parties to the agreement committing “to henceforth abide by the dictates of Social dialogue in all our future engagements.”
The Federal Executive Council (FEC) has approved a 30-day implementation plan for the memorandum of understanding (MoU) between the federal government and organised labour unions.
The Minister of Labour and Employment, Simon Lalong, made this known Monday in Abuja while speaking to State House correspondents at the end of the council meeting chaired by President Bola Tinubu.
The Trade Union Congress (TUC) and the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) had in September said they would embark on an indefinite strike from 3 October over the prevailing hardship caused by the removal of fuel subsidy.
However, on 2 October, the two major Nigerian labour unions and a coalition of various workers unions suspended the nationwide strike they were to commence on 3 October.
The labour unions announced their decision to suspend their strike in a MoU signed by the representatives of the labour unions and the federal government.
According to the MoU, the unions will now suspend their strike by 30 days, with parties to the agreement committing “to henceforth abide by the dictates of Social dialogue in all our future engagements.”
The MoU also stipulated that the document shall be filed in “relevant court of competent jurisdiction within one (1) week as consent judgment by the Federal Government.”
Speaking on Monday, Mr Lalong said the MoU was presented to the council on the implementation of the agreement with labour.
He said: “We presented a memo from the Federal Ministry for Labour and Employment, precisely on the arrangement of the agreements between government and Labour.
“You are already aware of all about 15 or 14 items as part of the agreements. But we went beyond mere agreements to tell them that something different this time was happening because one part of the agreement was to file it in a court of law, which we had set the process already and the other one was the presidential approval.”
He explained that there cannot be any presidential approval other than the federal executive council.
“So presented them to the Federal Executive Council, we analyzed every aspect of the agreement to show the genuineness and also provide for a harmonious and good industrial relationship. And that was why it was presented and it was approved for implementation.
“Initially, Yes, it was agreed that within 30 days, there must be evidence of implementation. I think that was the basis of presenting to the Federal Executive Council. And the federal executive council also approved that within these 30 days, we’ll go on with the implementation of the agreement between the labour and the government,” he said.
Responding to a question on item six of the agreement that borders on the alleged government interference in the activities of the leadership of the NURTW, Mr Lalong said a meeting with the leadership of the Road Transport Employers Association of Nigeria (RTEAN) has been concluded.
He said: “Well, the sixth item was about interference, specifically with issues that were about Road Transport Workers and Road Transport Employers Association of Nigeria (RTEAN). Immediately the next day, we embark on meetings between the two organizations.
“As of today, they have already reached out. And we have concluded that RTEAN and today they’re making a report to the ministry about the agreement. Because they went into agreement too and we’re also going to get back to their parent association. And then the next one was NURTW.
“Last week we were with them. Of course, if some of you were there, you knew why we postponed. I reminded them that we have to because we’re keeping to the dates of the agreement. But they said no, we cannot strictly keep to the date because it’s very important to them that we realize the end.”
He explained that all of the disagreements between the unions and the government would be resolved in the coming days.
“So we shifted the meeting to tomorrow. And today we’re also going to get a report and by tomorrow, we’ll fix a meeting. The reason why we presented all these items to the Federal Executive Council is for them to note and approve that after these things, we will not want to tolerate interference in union activities, but those that are pending within the Federal Ministry of Labour and Employment.
“So many of them are there, our role is to dispense with these conflicts. And we’re going to continue to do what these two items that I mentioned, were particular things they hammered on when we’re doing the agreement. But by God’s grace in the next few days. Those ones are going to be over,” he said.