July 16, 2024

Nigeria Labour Congress Insists Only Full Agreement Implementation Will Avert Nationwide Strike



By: Emmanuel Ibitoye


The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) has maintained its stance that the only resolution to the impending nationwide strike is the complete fulfillment of the agreement between the federal government and the labour union.


In a letter dated February 29, 2024, addressed to the Minister of State for Labour and Employment, the NLC dismissed the government’s claim of having fulfilled 80% of the October 2, 2023, agreement, urging transparency and genuine commitment to avoid escalating tensions.


NLC’s Acting General Secretary, Ismail Bello, expressed concerns in the letter about the government’s assertion that a significant portion of the agreement had been met, emphasizing that such statements could mislead the public and erode trust. The letter underscored the need for the government to expedite the implementation process before the March 13, 2024, deadline to avert a looming industrial crisis.


Titled “Has the government truly implemented the October 2, 2023, agreement,” the letter systematically addressed various points within the agreement that, according to the NLC, remain unfulfilled or inadequately addressed. Key points included the N35,000 wage award, where the NLC highlighted delays in payment and arrears, causing financial strain on affected workers.


Additionally, the letter raised concerns about the Port Harcourt Refinery, which, despite assurances, has not resumed production, impacting the promised flow of products to the public. The NLC emphasized the non-materialization of the pledged N25,000 cash transfers to 15 million poor households, citing corruption-related issues and expressing dissatisfaction with the handling of the social register.


The demand for tax waivers aimed at reducing financial burdens on workers, small businesses, and the general public was reiterated as another unmet aspect of the agreement. The NLC called attention to the adverse consequences of the government’s alleged failure to implement these measures, emphasizing the need for urgent action to address the grievances.


As the March 13 deadline approaches, the NLC’s letter serves as a reminder of the critical importance of fulfilling the agreement to prevent the escalation of tensions and the initiation of a nationwide strike. The labour union remains resolute in its stance, advocating for genuine commitment from the government to honor the terms of the agreement and address the concerns raised by workers and citizens alike.

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