The proposed two-day warning strike by the Nigeria Labour Congress has prompted a truce meeting called at the instance of Minister of Labour and Employment, Simon Lalong on Monday.
The brief meeting which was held at the Federal Ministry of Labour and Employment, saw the Minister appealing to the organised Labour to shelve their strike in the interest of Nigerians while allowing room for all stakeholders to work towards an amicable resolution of the contending issues on ground.
Lalong, however, told the NLC executives that they were yet to furnish his office with a letter on their proposed action, saying he got to know of their plans through media reports.
Recall that the NLC after its National Executive Council meeting, had threatened to embark on a two-day warning strike, beginning from 5-6th September.
The apex union had hinged the proposed action on excruciating suffering being experienced by Nigerians following the removal of fuel subsidy, including what it termed undue interference in the activities of the National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW).
“In light of these matters, I would like to reiterate my appeal to the leadership of the NLC to suspend their planned 2-day warning strike and subsequent future actions and to allow us to work together to amicably resolve these issues rather than embark on actions that would further worsen the conditions of the citizens of Nigeria,” Lalong had stated on Monday.
Acknowledging workers’ constraints, Lalong said Mr. President stated several times that he is not unaware that the implementation of these vital but difficult policies, comes along with a measure of hardship for citizens of this country.
He explained that the Federal Government took these decisions now rather than delay them further and put the nation into more difficulties that might be impossible to reverse.
Lalong also noted that the government has started taking steps to cushion the impact of the removal of fuel subsidy, which are being implemented by the three tiers of government.
“While some of these policies are being planned and fine-tuned, others are being rolled out as palliative measures to bring temporary relief to Nigerians. In the long run, the government of President Tinubu will put in place measures that will empower the people as well as create jobs and prosperity.
“As we continue in this direction, therefore, we must ensure that there is a robust line of communication with Nigerians and in particular the organised labour to forestall a breakdown of industrial peace which would no doubt reverse some of the gains already made.
“In this context, it has become pertinent to appeal to the leadership of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), to suspend its intended 2-days warning strike, as such action would be detrimental to the gains already being recorded on our course to securing a greater future for Nigerian workers and citizens at large.
“I would request that the Comrade Leadership of the Nigeria Labour Congress gives this Government some time to settle and address the issues on the ground holistically.
“It should be realised that the Cabinet of this administration was only recently sworn in by Mr. President and all cabinet members have hit the ground running by receiving briefings from their MDAs. Therefore, the issues raised by the leadership of the NLC are some issues that I and the Hon. Minister of State for Labour and Employment are being briefed upon. In the next few weeks, we intend to address them holistically,” he noted.