Payment of wage award for Fed workers resumes

Payment of N35, 000 Wage Award to public federal workers will resume this week, the government yesterday said.

Minister of State for Labour and Employment, Mrs. Nkeiruka Onyejeocha, stated this during a meeting with the leadership of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and the Trade Union Congress (TUC) in Abuja.

The meeting was called as a response to Labour’s two-week ultimatum over claims of non-implementation of the agreements reached with them by the government in October last year. 

The minister asked the Labour centres to withdraw the ultimatum.

She told the Labour leaders that the government had stepped up efforts to complete the implementation of that agreement.

She said: “It is true we entered into an agreement, but the government has shown good faith, and considering the urgency of the issue at hand, I called this meeting because dialogue has always been the best way out, and we are all for the well-being of our people. I am here to show good cause on why some agreement has not been met.”

On the CNG (Compressed Natural Gas) powered-buses programme, the Director and Chief Executive of the Presidential CNG initiative, Michael Oluwagbemi, who addressed the meeting virtually, stated that the government had made 70% payment for the procurement of new CNG buses and CNG kits.

Oluwagbemi hinted that some of the buses were ready and that they plan to start assembling others locally. It also include tricycles between March and April.

Mrs. Onyejeocha noted that the reaction of the Labour organisations was not unwarranted in the face of government’s non-completion of the agreement, but bearing in mind that some items in the agreement could only be achieved in stages, she hoped that the discussion would lead to the rescinding of the ultimatum by Labour.

She assured them of the President’s sincerity of purpose and unflinching dedication to the implementation of that agreement, adding that she would leave no stone unturned to satisfy the demands of the labour organisations.

The minister promised that the government would keep working towards the complete implementation of the agreement, and requested the Labour centres to withdraw their ultimatum.

She said: “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 expectation this time, and I believe that everything will go well.”

NLC President Joe Ajaero urged the Federal Government to be committed to beating the deadline of the 14-day ultimatum, which started on February 9th by ensuring the implementation of that agreement.

Ajaero declared the unions’ resolve to stand by its ultimatum and stated that every party to the agreement should endeavour to live up to expectation in the interest of Nigerians and the government.

He stated that Labour would always fulfill its part of the bargain, so long as the federal government would do the same.

TUC’s First Deputy President Tommy Okon also echoed Ajaero’s concerns and criticised the government’s gradual approach to the implementation of the signed agreement.

Okon said: “We have a lot of respect for you, 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.”