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Fuel Subsidy Removal: NLC, TUC, JOHESU suspend strike



The Nigerian Labour Congress has suspended its planned nationwide strike after nearly six-hour meeting between the Federal Government and the organised labour at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

The nationwide strike was planned for Wednesday.

The decision was part of resolutions announced by the Speaker, House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, and confirmed by the President of the Nigerian Labour Congress, Joe Ajaero.

Monday’s engagement is the third in a series of meetings between the government and key labour stakeholders after the President, Bola Tinubu, announced the discontinuance of petroleum subsidy exactly one week ago.

At Monday’s meeting, the parties agreed that “The NLC will suspend notice of strike forthwith to enable further consultations.

“The TUC and the NLC to continue ongoing engagements with the Federal Government and secure closure on the resolutions.

“The labour centres and the Federal Government to meet on June 19, 2023 to agree on an implementation framework.”

Gbajabiamila also announced that the FG, TUC, and NLC are to establish a joint committee to review the proposal of any wage increase or award and establish a framework and timeline for implementation.

The Federal Government, TUC and NLC will also review the $800m World Bank Financed Cash transfer scheme and propose inclusion of low-income earners in the program.

Monday’s resolution also include the review of the CNG conversion program earlier agreed with labour centres in 2021 and work out detailed implementation and timing.

The Labour centres and the FG will also review issues hindering effective delivery in the education sector and propose solutions for implementation.

The labour centres and the FG will review and establish the framework for completion of the rehabilitation of the nation’s refineries.

This also includes a provision of a framework for the maintenance of roads and expansion of rail networks nationwide.

“All other demands submitted by the TUC to the Federal Government will be assessed by the joint committee,” the Speaker said.

On his part, the NLC President said “These are the framework for us to follow in achieving some of the agreements reached here.

“You can see that not is yet in concrete terms. So, at the adjourned date, we will go into more specifics to make sure this knotty issue is resolved.”

Asked if the strike had indeed been suspended, Ajaero said “I thought that the speaker read it out.”

The President of TUC, Festus Osifo, said the organised labour are committed to resolving the issues raised and alleviating the suffering of those vulnerable Nigerians following the discontinuance of subsidy.

However, he urged the FG to take the resolutions seriously.

“So I want us to commit to get these issues resolved as soon as possible.

“So for us from labour, we are totally committed to get these issues resolved for the benefit of Nigerians,” Osifo said.

In attendance were the former Governor of Edo State, Adams Oshiomhole, the Group Chief Executive Officer of NNPCL, Mele Kyari, Hon. James Faleke, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Labour and Employment, Kachollom Daju are among others representing the FG.

The Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Godwin Emefiele and former Minister of State for Labour and Employment, Festus Keyamo, later joined the government’s delegation.

Meanwhile, the Health workers’ union under the umbrella of the Joint Health Sector Unions (JOHESU) also suspended its 12-day-old strike.

 Mr Obinna Ogbonna, JOHESU National Vice President said this on Monday to newsmen.

Ogbonna said the strike had been suspended due to the progress made during the engagement with  President Bola Tinubu.

He said the health workers called a meeting shortly after meeting with the president and decided to call off the strike and gave a 21-day timeline to the government

“We met with President Tinubu at the villa and he pleaded with the striking health workers to give him the benefit of the doubt.

“The president says that he  will resolve the matters amicably to our own benefit and positive results,” Ogbonna said.

According to him, the congress considered his plea and also said we should give a 21-day timeline to assess progress and commitment of state actors in resolving the issues.

NAN reports that JOHESU is the umbrella body of health workers’ unions and associations, including the Medical and Health Workers Union of Nigeria, Nigeria Union of Allied Health Professionals, Non-Academic Staff Union of Educational and Associated Institutions, and Senior Staff Association of Universities’ Teaching Hospitals Research Institutes and Associated Institutions.

The unions’ demands include immediate approval and implementation of the Technical Committee Report on CONHESS adjustment by the federal government; immediate payment of the omission and shortfall in the COVID-19 hazard/inducement allowances of affected health workers in the federal health institutions and recognition of health workers in non-core hospital facilities in the payment of new hazard allowances and payment and inculcation of peculiar allowances to health workers under the JOHESU/AHPA.

Others are immediate and unconditional implementation of the Pharmacist Consultant cadre; unconditional payment of all withheld salaries of the Federal Medical Centre, Owerri,Jos University Teaching Hospital,JUTH,Lagos University Teaching Hospital,LUTH and April and May,2018 salaries of members at National Obstetric, Fistula centre,NOFIC,Azare, Bauchi State and speedy implementation of the increase in retirement age from 60 to 65 years and 70 years for consultants in the health professions.

The leadership of JOHESU had in a letter dated May 9, issued a 15-day ultimatum to the Federal Government over alleged inconsistencies of the government in the ongoing negotiations to adjust the Consolidated Health Salary Structure for health workers on their platforms.

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