• News - North Central - FCT
  • Updated: February 14, 2024

We will resume wage award payment — FG to labour

We will resume wage award payment — FG to labour

The federal government has pledged to resume the payment of wage awards to workers this week, reassuring both the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and the Trade Union Congress (TUC). 

Nkeiruka Onyejeocha, Minister of State for Labour and Employment, gave the assurance during a meeting with the leadership of NLC and TUC in Abuja on Tuesday.

The minister convened the meeting in response to the 14-day ultimatum issued to the government regarding the non-implementation of the 16-point agreement reached with them on October 2, 2023.

He appealed to the labour organisations to withdraw their 14-day ultimatum, as the government had stepped up efforts to implement the agreement.

Onyejeocha noted that the reaction of the Labour organisations was not unwarranted in the face of the government’s non-completion of the agreement. She said some items in it could only be achieved in stages.

She, however, expressed the hope that the discussion would lead to labour’s withdrawal of the ultimatum.

The minister assured labour of President Bola Tinubu’s sincerity of purpose and dedication to the agreement’s implementation.

Onyejeocha also assured them that Tinubu would leave no stone unturned to satisfy the demands of the labour organisations.

“I plead with you to sheath your sword. We have been showing good faith; it is just that it is not commensurate with your expectations.

“But I promise you that we will surpass your expectations this time, and I believe everything will go well,” she said.

Also, Michael Oluwagbemi, programme director and chief executive of the Presidential Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) initiative, who spoke virtually, noted that the government had made 70 per cent payment for the new CNG buses and kits.

Oluwagbemi said some of the buses were ready. They expect to start assembling others locally, including the tricycles, between March and April 2024.

Speaking, Joe Ajaero, the NLC president, called on the federal government to be committed to beating the deadline of the 14-day ultimatum that started on February 9, 2024, by ensuring the agreement’s implementation.

Ajaero insisted on their resolve to stand by their ultimatum. He said organised labour would always fulfil its part of the bargain if the federal government did the same.

Tommy Okon, the first deputy president of TUC, also expressed disappointment with the federal government’s gradual approach to implementing the signed agreement.

“We have a lot of respect for you, Hon. Minister; that’s why we are here. We don’t need to beg the government to do what is right.

“Let me tell you, we, the organised labour, are the ones managing the crisis in this country for the government; if not, we wouldn’t be here today discussing these issues,” he said.

The meeting agreed on an immediate joint inspection visit to the Port Harcourt Refinery. This will enable Labour to confirm the reported progress in getting the refinery back into operation.

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