Labor Warns Govt: Strike Looms over Delayed MOU

NLC Chair, Joe Ajaero

Organized labor has expressed its discontent with the slow progress in implementing the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed with the Federal Government to prevent an impending nationwide strike.

State chapters of the Nigeria Labor Congress and the Trade Union Congress have voiced their concerns about the failure to implement the agreement by the October 30 deadline. They have initiated the mobilization of their members across the country.

Benson Upah, the Head of Information and Public Affairs of the NLC, confirmed that labor is not satisfied with the MoU’s implementation and criticized the Minister of Labor and Employment’s handling of the situation.

On October 1, the national leadership of the NLC and TUC reached an agreement with the Federal Government to pay N35,000 to all federal workers starting in September until a new national minimum wage is officially approved. This resolution included extending the same benefits to state workers.

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While the government has started the payment of the N35,000 wage award and made provisions for Compressed Natural Gas conversion kits, only a few of the 15 demands in the MoU have been met. Various state labor chapters have expressed their intentions to consider strike actions if the terms of the agreements are not implemented.

The Ogun State TUC Chairman, Akeem Lasisi, stated that an industrial action might be declared after the October 30 deadline if the federal and state governments fail to meet the labor unions’ demands. The decision to strike would be based on consultations and a review of the government’s efforts.

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Labor leaders from different states, such as Kano, Gombe, Benue, Sokoto, and Kwara, have expressed their concerns about the government’s lack of response to their demands and have indicated their readiness to follow the national leadership’s directives.

In the case of Kwara State, the government has yet to pay the N35,000 award to workers, and the state labor leaders are waiting for a response from the government. They are prepared to take action in line with the national leadership’s guidance.

The Bauchi State NLC Chairman, Dauda Shuaibu, criticized the delay in implementing the MoU and stated that if the government fails to meet the agreements, they will join any nationwide strike declared by the leadership.

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Despite these concerns, the NLC spokesman, Benson Upah, clarified that the creation of a minimum wage committee is not currently an issue as the implementation of the new minimum wage is not expected until 2024. He also mentioned that various factors, including inflation and cost of living, would be considered when negotiating the new minimum wage.

Furthermore, following the removal of the subsidy on Premium Motor Spirit, NLC President Joe Ajaero suggested that the minimum wage might be renegotiated to a higher amount, taking into account various economic factors

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