FG, NLC Meeting To Prevent Indefinite Strike Ends In Deadlock
By Eunice Odebiyi
The meeting between the Federal Government and the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) to avert an imminent strike action ended on Monday without a concrete resolution to the union’s demands.
The Minister of Labour and Employment, Simon Lalong; and Minister of State for Labour and Employment, Nkeiruka Onyejeocha, met with the NLC President, Joe Ajaero, and other leaders in Abuja in an effort to stop organised labour from embarking on another industrial action.
The meeting is expected to continue at a later date.
However, the minister is also expected to hold a meeting with the leadership of the Trade Union Congress (TUC) today.
The impasse followed Lalong’s invitation to the NLC for a meeting in light of the union’s planned nationwide strike owing to the removal of fuel subsidies and the hardship in the country.
Earlier, the minister invited the NLC and the Trade Union Congress (TUC) for talks to avert the two-day strike held between September 5 and 6.
However, “only the TUC showed up for the meeting,” the ministry added.
Addressing Labour’s Demands
During Monday’s meeting, Lalong promised to partner with organised labour to address the demands of the labour unions in a just and balanced way.
He appealed to the labour leaders to be realistic and frank in the discussions.
The minister also expressed optimism that the meeting would lead to a resolution that is of national interest.
In his response, NLC President Joe Ajaero said his team was in the meeting with mixed feelings, to find out whether “something will happen or not,” as many similar meetings in the past had failed to yield a positive response.
He further noted that the past strikes that the minister referred to were a result of the frustration Nigerian workers faced due to the effects of the hardship occasioned by the removal of fuel subsidies.
According to him, not one of the agreements with the Federal Government was addressed despite a series of meetings that were held.
Ajaero also vehemently condemned the invasion of the office of the National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW), with some of its leaders arrested and detained.
According to him, that action alone is enough for the NLC to proceed with their planned strike.