FG and NLC Meeting Ends in Deadend, Threat of Total Strike Lingers - The Top Society

FG and NLC Meeting Ends in Deadend, Threat of Total Strike Lingers


The meeting between the Federal Government (FG) and the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) ended in a dead end as workers stand firm on their demands, potentially leading to an indefinite strike.

The meeting, held in Abuja and led by Minister of Labour Simon Lalong, on Monday, aimed to address post-subsidy removal palliatives for workers but failed to reach a consensus.

During the metering, the NLC insisted that the FG must meet its demands ahead of the 21-day ultimatum issued on September 1 by the congress.

While briefing journalists about the outcome of the meeting on Monday, both parties pledged to find lasting solutions to the key demands tabled before the government by the organised labour before the deadline.

Lalong said many of the items presented by Labour were still under consideration before the final agreement.

“Our meeting was very robust. It was a fruitful meeting. Many of the items presented by labour are still under consideration before the final agreement or discussions. It was a fruitful meeting. I thank the NLC for coming to the meeting and for their very useful contributions,” Lalong told newsmen.

The President of the NLC, Joe Ajaero, also described the meeting as fruitful. He, however, said only the Presidency could take decisions on the demands presented to the government and that the union was ready to meet with the government to avert the strike.

“Like the minister said we had a fruitful deliberation and we have agreed to continue to make sure we arrive at meaningful agreement within the remaining days of the ultimatum,”he said.

“We equally discussed frankly the issue bordering the coup floated and executed by the Nigeria Police against the National Union of Road Transport Workers which has led to the detention of their democratically elected national officers and both parties agreed to show concern towards the resolution of the matter. On the other issue, you can see that there is no agreement or implementation on any. There is no CNG anywhere. Refineries are not working. No agreement on wage award. Those are the issues we believe that something will happen before the ultimatum expires. It is possible that something will happen.” 

The Labour leader also lamented that

“none of the demands put before the federal government had been addressed. He complained about the lack of trust between the government and the union in the negotiation process.

“We came with mixed feelings whether it will work or not because we have had many meetings, some beyond this level, yet nothing seems to be coming out of it. But I have great optimism in the Nigerian project; we can’t stop trying. We are here with that belief that something may happen. But that doubt, that trust gap is what we feared for a long time now and it calls for lamentation,” he stated.

The NLC had issued a 21-day ultimatum on September 1, insisting that the FG must meet their demands, including wage awards, palliative implementation, tax exemptions, and a minimum wage review, or face an indefinite labor action. In preparation for this, the NLC had conducted a two-day warning strike on September 5 and 6, partially affecting economic activities.

Minister Lalong and the NLC President, Joe Ajaero, both acknowledged the importance of resolving the issues before the ultimatum expires, emphasizing the need for further discussions. They expressed optimism about finding common ground. However, Ajaero lamented the lack of results from previous meetings and the impact of the fuel subsidy removal on the Nigerian populace.

Minister Lalong, while advocating for dialogue over strikes, recognized the challenges faced by the nation, including recent industrial actions. He called for a balanced approach that promotes economic growth while addressing the valid grievances of workers.

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