BY SUNNY A. DAVID
As the Federal government, through the Minister of Labour and Employment, Comrade Simon Lalong and Minister of Labour and Employment for State, Comrade Nkeiruka Onyejeocha, and the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) commence a new round of meeting to prevent the proposed indefinite strike by the organised labour, the Congress has declared its expectation for solutions to its demands.
NLC President, Comrade Joe Ajaero, who led the team of the representatives of labour, said he hoped that the government would come up with concrete solutions on the issues of palliative, cash transfer, wage award and NURTW crisis at the end of the meeting to avert the looming industrial action.
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 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 Minister 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.