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Strike: Our Word, Our Bond – FG Asks Labour To Exercise Restraint, Says Implementation Of Demands Ongoing

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February 09, (THEWILL) – The Federal Government has appealed to organised labour, to maintain restraint over its two-week nationwide strike notice, saying that implementation of their demands were underway.

“We strongly urge the organised labour to continue demonstrating prudence in their decisions and actions as the government works exceedingly hard to address the challenges currently faced by the Nation. We will ensure the complete implementation of the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) we entered into with Organised Labour. Our word is our bond”, Minister of State for Labour and Employment, Nkeiruka Onyejeocha, assured on Friday.

Organised Labour, comprising the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and the Trade Union Congress (TUC), on Thursday, issued a 14-day ultimatum to the Federal Government to address the hardship and rising cost of living in the nation.

The Unions, in a joint statement, claimed that the government had not complied with the 16-point agreement reached on October 2, 2023.

Speaking at a press conference in Abuja on Friday, Onyejeocha, said the government acknowledged the challenges faced by Nigerians and had demonstrated sincerity in its ongoing negotiations with the trade unions.

According to the Minister, some of the demands of labour have been achieved, while others were still in the pipeline.

“For example, the N35,000 wage award agreed upon between the government and Organised labour is currently being implemented. However, we have received complaints regarding non-implementation in some public sector organisations, as well as the private sector. The Ministry is actively addressing these issues to ensure compliance across all sectors.

“Two days ago, I mediated between the National Union of Civil Engineering Construction, Furniture and Wood Workers (NUCEFWW), Civil Engineering Senior Staff Association (CCESSA), the Federation of Construction Industries (FOCI) (Employers). Consequently, the parties have signed an agreement to resolve the issue.

“The office of the National Security Adviser (NSA) has intervened in the Road Transport Employers Association of Nigeria (RTEAN) matter with the Lagos State Government. As a result, up to 80% of the agreement with the RTEAN management has been fulfilled, and ongoing efforts are in place to complete the remaining process.

“The government would also like to bring to the public’s attention to the 37-member tripartite committee on national minimum wage which was recently inaugurated to recommend a new national minimum wage for Nigerian workers, all in a bid to mitigate the hardship the Nigerian citizens are facing. It is also important to note that the organised labour have 12 members representing the Working people”, she said.

Onyejeocha said that government is actively implementing its plan to go green with the implementation of the Presidential Compressed natural gas (CNG) Initiative designed to alleviate the challenges arising from subsidy removal and transition Nigeria permanently to cheaper, safer and more reliable gas produced domestically for transport.

According to her, “In line with government ongoing commitment to improving the welfare of Nigerians, provisions have also been made for an initial 55,000 CNG conversion kits as part of the commencement of the auto gas conversion programme. Development of the state-of-the-art CNG conversion centres nationwide is also ongoing with the aim to deliver 1 million converted bi-fuel CNG/PMS vehicles to enable transporters and mass transit operators convert their vehicles that run on PMS to gas (which is forty to fifty percent cheaper than PMS).”

The Minister disclosed that the Ministry of Finance, is acquiring up to 11,500 CNG vehicles, including buses and tricycles, that will be deployed in a few months time by financing them at a concessionary rate, in fulfilment of the President’s promise.

“We shall also liaise with the NNPCL to ensure that the visitation to the refineries for on-the-spot assessment of our refineries is done without further delay.

“The government will continue to leverage on the principles of social dialogue, valuing the input of our social partners, with the goal of creating a better Nigeria for all.

“We strongly urge the organised labour to continue demonstrating prudence in their decisions and actions as the government works exceedingly hard to address the challenges currently faced by the Nation.

“Finally, we wish to reassure Nigerians that this government is fully committed to honouring its obligations to workers and the less privileged in Nigeria.

“We will ensure the complete implementation of the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) we entered into with Organised Labour. Our word is our bond. I can confidently say that President Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s administration stands firmly with the people, and the President is tirelessly working to ensure that everything is done to address the needs and concerns of the nation.”

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