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FG, Governors, Labour parley today to stave off strike

The Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr Chris Ngige will again today(Thursday) lead a Federal government delegation to a meeting with leaders of Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) and Trade Union Congress(TUC) in a last ditch effort to avert the already slated mass industrial action to begin on Monday September 28, 2020.

The Nigerian Governors’ Forum have also called a meeting of all the 36 state governors in an attempt to interface between Federal government and the labour unions to avert the strike they claimed could have adverse effect on the economy, and the people.

Labour leaders have confirmed they will attend Thursday’s meetiwith a load of conditions.The meeting is the second in one week.

After last week’s meeting, the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and the Trade Union Congress (TUC) leadership were mandated to meet with their executives ahead of  Thursday’s parley.

However, both Labour organisations served a notice of industrial action from Monday unless the government reversed the hike in prices.

TUC President Quadri Olaleye said: “We are going to attend (the meeting). I have also compared notes with my colleague Comrade Ayuba Wabba. We will maintain our position on the reversal of fuel price and the electricity tariffs increase. We will also come up with some other conditions which will be in form of solution to the economy. We should not be talking only about reversal, we should be talking about prevention of future unilateral decisions”, he said.

Going further, he said: “Although, we are attending the meeting, we are fully mobilised nationwide ahead of the planned strike. All affiliates of TUC and NLC are fully mobilised. More than 45 civil organisations and activist groups will join us in the protest/strike. We are also on sensitisation of the general public which include market people.”

NLC Deputy President Joe Ajaero also said the NLC would attend the parley. “If you make a demand and you are invited to a meeting you will go there. It is the people that are inviting you that will put something on the table. You were there at the last meeting; there was nothing on the table. If what they put on the table meets your demand and the demand of your people, you will agree. If they don’t, you continue with your action. However, mobilisation continues. It is just a few people that will attend the meeting. Mobilisation across the country is on. The meeting doesn’t disturb the mobilisation.”

Minister of Labour and Employment Dr. Chris Ngige, who told The Nation on Tuesday that the planned meeting would hold as part of the “continuous dialogue”, argued that it will not be in the interest of anybody “if the economy is shut down”, adding “all of us will lose, Nigeria belong to all of us.”

Spokesman of the ministry of Labour Charles Akpan reaffirmed today’s meeting with the labour leaders.

He said: “The Honourable Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr. Chris Ngige, will be hosting a meeting with the organised Labour.

“The meeting is scheduled to hold on Thursday, 24th September 2020, at the Banquet Hall, Presidential Villa by 3 pm.”

Governors have also joined the efforts to stave off the planned strike.They have slated a meeting for Thursday in Abuja.

“Ahead of the threat by the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) to resort to an industrial action to force the Federal Government to rescind its decision to hike oil and electricity prices in the country, the Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF) is holding an emergency meeting of all the governors to seek ways of settling the rift and finding a mutually agreed soft landing on amicable grounds.

“All governors are expected to attendthe meeting as the matter is considered to be of urgent national importance, which needs to be quickly resolved in order not to worsen the already bad situation of Nigerians as caused by the Coronavirus pandemic,” Asishana Okauru said.

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