The Federal Government and the Nigeria Labour Congress agreed on Monday to an eight-week deadline to resolve all contentious issues and implement the resolutions resulting from labour demands.
Remember that on May 29, shortly after President Bola Tinubu announced the removal of the fuel subsidy, organised labour threatened to go on strike, claiming that the government had not put in place measures to mitigate the impact of the subsidy removal.
To avoid a strike, the federal government quickly called a meeting with the Nigeria Labour Congress, where palliative demands were made, and the two parties agreed to meet again on June 19.
At the meeting on Monday, the federal government and the leadership of the Nigeria Labour Congress, and the Trade Union Congress, TUC, agreed that all issues and demands raised should be resolved within eight weeks.
The two parties also established a Presidential Steering Committee to act as a clearing house in coordinating technical subcommittees on various issues raised.
The TUC president, Festus Osifo, who was flanked by his Nigeria Labour Congress counterpart, Joe Ajaero, briefed State House correspondents at the end of the meeting, saying the parties would reconvene next Monday to review the framework negotiated.
He said: “We have concluded our meeting. If you remember very well the last time that we were here, when labour, the TUC, and the Nigeria Labour Congress met with the government about two weeks ago, we agreed that we were going to reconvene today, which is the 19th of June. We just reconvened, and we had a meeting, although brief.
“The purpose of the meeting today is actually to put together the framework, what we submitted as our demand, and how they will be delivered, and so we are looking at that framework, the government came up with what they think will work, and we also made some input. From this night on, we are going to continue the work in order to have that framework together.
“We agreed that anything we are putting together, we are going to conclude everything in eight weeks. Everything must be rolled out within that time; it is not something that we are going to leave endlessly. They have submitted the framework to us, we have looked at it, and we have made input to it. Tonight, we will continuously work on it in order to come up with the deliverables.
“If you look at the communiqué that was signed in our last meeting, there are some action items in the communiqué. So that’s actually how these action items will be delivered. For example, we need to have a presidential steering committee that will oversee everything.
‘’We also need to have Technical sub-committees because if we talk about the issue of CNG, we need experts, the issue of CNG you need those people that are willing to invest, the issue of CNG, you need the national oil company, the NNPCL to come up what they need to do and the time with which they are going to deliver.
“There are some technicalities that are required beyond this meeting, so those technical committees will be subsumed into Presidential committees but we must conclude everything maximum in eight weeks.
‘’So those technical committees, some will submit their reports in one week, when they submit in one week, we implement, when they submit in two weeks we will implement but the last should not exceed eight weeks.
“The terms of reference of these committees are going to be agreed on between today and tomorrow. We are looking at five broad technical committees that will be subsumed into Presidential Steering Committee. There must be timelines in these terms of reference but the maximum should not exceed eight weeks. By next week Monday, we will be here again, same time.”
Also speaking, the Special Adviser to the President on Special Duties, Communication and Strategies, Dele Alake, said the meeting considered the short-term, medium-term and long-term measures in resolving the issue with the government.
He said: “We reconvened today, both parties went through this list and we tipped off the viable ones, those things are broken into three categories. The immediate, are those that can be of low-hanging fruit in the short term, the medium term and the long term.
“So those list of demands in terms of implementation and execution fall into those three broad categories of short, medium and long term categories. So that’s what we decided today and other meetings will still be held in order to cross the t’s and dot the i’s.
“One group has been constituted at today’s meeting, there is a steering committee that will be like a clearing house, there are other groups set up comprising both parties, government and labour members and these groups will work together very harmoniously and efficiently to arrive at the final resolution of all these demands and what we call interventions.”
Present at the meeting are the delegation of the Nigeria Labour Congress, led by its President, Joe Ajaero, the delegation of the TUC led by its President, Festus Osifo, the Chief of Staff to the President, Femi Gbajabiamila, Special Adviser for Revenue, Zachaeus Adedeji and the Special Adviser for Energy, Olu Verheijen and the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Labour and Employment, Kachallom Daju.
Others are the Group Chief Executive Officer, GCEO of the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited NNPCL, Mele Kyari, the Chief Executive Officer of the Nigerian Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission, NUPRC, Gbenga Komolafe, the CEO of Nigeria Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority, NMDPRA, Farouk Ahmed among others.