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Labour Unions Give Federal Government 14-Day Ultimatum to Address Hardship and Hunger

The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and the Trade Union Congress (TUC) have intensified pressure on the Federal Government, issuing a 14-day ultimatum to implement the 16-point agreement reached on October 2 of the preceding year.

In a joint statement signed by NLC President Joe Ajaero and TUC President Festus Osifo in Abuja, the organised labour officially conveyed the ultimatum, which commences today.

However, the Federal Government, refuting any breach of the agreement, emphasized its commitment to prioritizing workers’ welfare. Information and National Orientation Minister Alhaji Mohammed Idris urged the unions to embrace dialogue, stating that a strike at this juncture would not be in the national interest.

Minister of Labour and Employment, Nkeiruka Onyejeocha, reiterated the government’s determination to honor its agreement with the unions.

In 2023, Labour and the Federal Government signed a 16-point agreement, leading to the suspension of a strike. The threat of an indefinite strike resurfaced due to concerns about the cost of living following the removal of the petroleum subsidy by President Bola Ahmed Tinubu.

President Tinubu approved the payment of four months’ withheld salaries for university teachers and the N35,000 wage award to federal workers as part of the 16-point Memorandum of Understanding (MoU). However, Labour contends that only one month of the agreed-upon six-month wage award has been disbursed, leaving many civil servants unpaid.

In their joint statement, the Labour unions expressed dissatisfaction with the unmet or insufficiently addressed agreements, citing a disregard for the principles of good faith, welfare, and rights of Nigerian workers and citizens.

The ultimatum is described as a last resort due to the “persistent neglect of the welfare of citizens and Nigerian workers and the massive hardship in the countrphasized that immediate action must be taken within the two weeks to prevent further measures being considered.

The statement highlighted the dire consequences of the IMF/World Bank-induced hike in the price of PMS and the devaluation of the Naira, leading to widespread hunger, eroded purchasing power, and increased insecuriy.” Labour emty. Labour called on the government to honor agreements that cover wage awards, palliative adjustments, improved access to public utilities, and the resolution of internal affairs within unions.

The NLC and TUC concluded by issuing a stern ultimatum to the Federal Government, demanding the fulfillment of its part of the understanding within 14 days, starting from February 9, 2024.

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