The Nigeria Labour Congress, or NLC, announced that it would continue with its two-day warning strike, which would start tomorrow. The NLC claimed that it was unaware of any meetings with the Federal Government today.
A senior NLC official told Vanguard yesterday that as of press time, there had been no invitation from the government for any meetings, and that state councils and industrial unions had initiated the strike.
Mohammed Idris Magaji, the minister of information and orientation, asserted that the Federal Government and Labour are in communication on the proposed strike.
He said that the Minister of Labour and Employment, Simon Lalong, met with the leadership of the NLC on Saturday, adding “We are very hopeful that the strike may be averted.”
The minister said the government will continue to appeal to Organized Labour to see the reason and the efforts of the government in providing palliatives through state governors and the Conditional Cash Transfer programme.
He said the government’s position was to pass the palliatives through state governors, irrespective of party affiliations, because the effect of the subsidy removal is felt more in states.
While appealing to Organized Labour to collaborate with the government to ensure that all efforts put in place to reposition the economy and turn things around for good yield the desired results, the minister said the government will continue to engage with labour to avoid the planned strike.
But NLC said its decision to embark on the two-day warning strike as a precursor to indefinite industrial action, was informed by pressure from unions and state chapters over the excruciating sufferings their members are facing as a result of the removal of fuel subsidy.
According to information obtained by the news media, the Federal Government’s ‘deliberate’ unwillingness to uphold agreements made with Organised Labour at the start of subsidy reduction was one of several causes that caused Labour to call the strike.
All elected national officials, senior secretariat staff, presidents, secretaries, and treasurers of affiliated industrial unions, as well as chairmen, secretaries, and treasurers of state councils, make up the National Executive Council (NEC), which is said to have nearly become out of control when members learned that none of the committees, including the primary committee established to find solutions to mitigate the effects of subsidy removal, had met since they were formed.