Joe Ajaero, the President of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), has stated that the two-day warning strike embarked on by the union stemed from the working class’s deep frustration with the government’s inability to uphold its commitments.
Ajaero made these statements during a crucial meeting convened by the Minister of Labour and Employment, Simon Lalong, on Monday. Expressing deep dissatisfaction, he criticized the government’s handling of the palliative scheme in the wake of the subsidy removal policy. Ajaero pointed out that none of the demands raised by the workers, to which the government had pledged to respond, had been met despite the two-day warning strike.
Furthermore, Ajaero revealed that workers were reluctant to resort to strikes, but recent developments in the labour sector, particularly the crisis in the National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW), had left them with no alternative. Notably, the police have taken control of the NURTW secretariat, raising concerns about the state of labor affairs in the nation.
Before the meeting entered a closed-door session, Minister Simon Lalong acknowledged the profound challenges facing the country. He cited ongoing industrial actions and unrest as factors negatively impacting the economy. Despite these challenges, he expressed optimism that constructive dialogue would pave the way for resolving the pressing issues at hand.
“I fully acknowledge and appreciate the invaluable role the NLC plays in championing the rights and welfare of our workers. Your dedication and tireless advocacy have been critical in shaping a fair and inclusive work environment and ensuring the well-being of our workforce. We acknowledge the valid grievances that have fueled the recent labour crisis, and we are committed to addressing them in a just and equitable manner.
“We must also recognize the economic realities that confront us. As we address the concerns of our workforce, we must be mindful of striking a balance that promotes economic growth and secures sustainable progress for our nation. Today, I call upon each one of you to join hands in an open-minded and constructive dialogue, enabling us to bridge any gaps that may exist between the interests of workers and the ultimate goal of driving economic advancement.
“In the spirit of unity and with utmost commitment to the betterment of our nation, let us seize this opportunity to listen and understand one another. Together, let us explore innovative approaches, reimagining strategies that enhance working conditions and worker benefits while nurturing a robust economy,” Lalong stated.
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