The Federal Government (FG) has assured workers that it will clear the arrears of the N35,000 wage award just as it also said the government had resumed the payment of the wage award.

The government also reiterated its commitment to addressing issues in the National Minimum Wage agreement reached with the Organised Labour in 2023.

The Minister of Labour and Employment, Nkeiruka Onyejeocha, disclosed the government’s commitment towards implementing agreements with trade unions during separate meetings with the leaderships of the Trade Union Congress and Congress of University Academics, on Wednesday in Abuja.

Onyejeocha underscored the significance of her interactions with key trade unions, emphasising the intention to uphold open lines of communication, strengthen labour relations to mitigate the likelihood of future strikes, and actively contribute to cultivating a harmonious and friendly work environment for all employees.

Onyejeocha stated that the government appreciated the plight of the trade unions, noting that her visit was not only to reiterate the government’s readiness for partnership but to keep the channels of communication open.

“I am here specifically to reassure you that we have not forgotten about the agreements between the government and trade unions. Thank God that you have confirmed that the federal government has started paying the N35,000 wage award and I can assure you that the payment is on course and the outstanding will be paid within a short period,” she said.

Onyejeocha said, “I know that the President is focused on making sure that the issue of a new national minimum wage is addressed. The government will ensure that the committee starts working in earnest.

“I do not want to wait for any stakeholder to start agitating, that is why I have come to remind you that I am aware of those agreements, and we are working round the clock to make sure they are fulfilled. If there is any that we cannot fulfil now, including the past ones, we will continue our engagements on them.”

She commended the leadership of TUC for having faith in the government and assured the union of the government’s continued readiness to listen to them, as well as partner with them for the greater good of the people.

Previously, it was reported by The PUNCH that Joe Ajaero, the President of the Nigeria Labour Congress, put forth a suggestion for a wage adjustment to be granted to the Federal Government as a measure to alleviate the impacts of the fuel subsidy removal.

The Labour Unions and the Federal Government under President Bola Tunubu’s led administration had agreed to the payment of an N35,000 wage award for lower cadre workers for the next six months to cushion the effect of the removal of subsidy.

Speaking, the President of Trade Union Congress, Comrade Festus Osifo, commended the government for some of the major steps taken so far, specifically for fulfilling up to 80 per cent of the agreement with the management of Road Transport Employers Association of Nigeria, and urged the government the fulfil the remaining 20 per cent of that agreement.

“We are not a union that waits for the government to fail to hold it to ransom. That is why we keep engaging,” Osifo said.

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