The Federal Government has expressed readiness to meet with the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) on Monday to avert the warning strike scheduled for Tuesday and Wednesday.
Naija News reported that NLC last Friday declared a two-day warning strike following the failure of the Federal Government to dialogue with organised labour on efforts to cushion the effects of the removal of petrol subsidy on the poor masses.
Also, the organised labour, on the 2nd of August 2023, protested the “anti-people” policies of the administration of President Tinubu.
The NLC, Trade Union Congress (TUC) and their affiliate unions demonstrated in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) and several states, including Lagos, Abia, Plateau, Kaduna, Kano, Rivers, Zamfara, Katsina, Cross River, Ebonyi, Enugu, Kwara, Ogun, Imo, Ondo, and Edo.
The union accused the Federal Government of abandoning negotiations and failing to implement some of the resolutions from previous engagements with the government.
Following the declaration of the strike, the Minister of Information and National Orientation, Mohammed Idris, in an interview with PUNCH, said the government would meet with union leaders to avert the looming strike.
Idris said with the appointment of the new minister of Labour and Employment, Simon Lalong, the Federal Government will find a lasting solution to the issue.
He said, “Definitely, we are hoping the warning strike can be averted. They are still engaged in discussions and have started to understand each other’s position more. They will meet again on Monday, but the gaps are being closed. You know the new minister just came in and has just begun to engage with the NLC. Going forward, you will see more expeditious engagement with the labour union. So far, tension has reduced but work is still in progress. By Monday, they will meet again and hopefully find an amicable resolution on the issue.”
Speaking on the plans of the Federal Government concerning the 21-day strike scheduled to commence later in the month if the parties fail to reach an agreement, the minister expressed conviction that the matter would be resolved before then.
He stated, “This is why I said we are trying to find a common ground to avert the impending strike. Once this is achieved, the other one would have been taken care of.”
No Scheduled Meeting
The NLC Assistant National Secretary, Christopher Onyeka, has debunked claims of a scheduled meeting with FG to avert the warning strike.
He said, “They didn’t invite us to any meeting, so there is no meeting between us and the government. They have not met with us, and there is no official plan to meet with us.
“The labour movement is a negotiation platform built around dialogue. We are not the ones who left the table; it’s the government that has been running away from the table.”
Onyeka reiterated that the union’s demands were heavy, and the government could do nothing to avert the Tuesday warning strike.
He noted that there is no going back as the government must prioritise providing for the interests and desires of Nigerians.
He said, “Our demands are heavy; they are not what the government can meet between now and Tuesday. We are going on strike and this is a warning strike.
“This is to demonstrate to the government our determination, commitment and preparedness to embark on strike, so they would know that we mean business and we are prepared, committed to ensuring that the right things are done for Nigeria. You don’t treat Nigerians with contempt or disregard them. They cannot treat Nigerians as if our desires and interests do not matter.
“Government is about the people and providing benefits for the interests and desires of Nigerians. It is not about the interests of those who are in government, so they should listen to us. They should listen to the position of Nigerians. As leaders, don’t just listen to foreign bodies, you listen to Nigerians.”