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Economy

Federal Government Promises to Resume Payment of Wage Award, Pleads for Labour’s

By Grace Chigbu

 

The Federal Government has reassured the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and Trade Union Congress (TUC) of its commitment to resuming the payment of wage awards to workers this week. The assurance comes amidst a 14-day ultimatum issued by the labour unions regarding the implementation of a 16-point agreement reached on October 2, 2023.

Minister of State for Labour and Employment, Nkeiruka Onyejeocha, conveyed the government’s commitment during a meeting in Abuja with the leadership of both labour centres. She urged the labour organisations to withdraw their ultimatum, emphasizing the government’s heightened efforts to complete the implementation of the agreement.

Speaking at the meeting aimed at updating the labour centres on the progress of the agreement’s implementation, Onyejeocha stressed the importance of dialogue in resolving disputes. She highlighted the government’s goodwill and urgency in addressing the concerns of the workers.

Regarding the procurement of Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) buses, Michael Oluwagbemi, the programme director and chief executive of the Presidential CNG initiative, informed the meeting that 70% payment had been made for new CNG buses and CNG kits. Oluwagbemi added that while some buses were ready, assembly of others, including tricycles, is expected to commence locally between March and April 2024.

As part of efforts to demonstrate progress, an immediate joint inspection visit to the Port Harcourt Refinery was agreed upon to allow labour representatives to verify reported advancements in restoring refinery operations.

While acknowledging the legitimacy of labour’s concerns regarding the government’s slow pace in fulfilling the agreement, Onyejeocha expressed hope for a resolution through dialogue. She reiterated the President’s dedication to fulfilling the agreement and appealed for the withdrawal of the ultimatum.

In a statement by Olajide Oshundun, Director of Press and Public Relations of the Ministry, the Minister pledged the government’s commitment to complete implementation of the agreement and urged the labour centres to withdraw their ultimatum.

President of the Nigeria Labour Congress, Joe Ajaero, urged the government to meet the ultimatum’s deadline by ensuring full implementation of the agreement. He reaffirmed labour’s commitment to the agreement and called on all parties to fulfill their obligations.

 

Echoing Ajaero’s sentiments, the First Deputy President of TUC, Dr Tommy Okon, criticized the government’s gradual approach to implementation. He emphasized the importance of government’s adherence to agreements and highlighted the vital role of organised labour in managing crises.

 

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