The crucial meeting held between the Federal Government and the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) in a bid to avert an impending strike came to a close on Monday, with no conclusive resolution reached regarding the union’s demands.
The meeting, spearheaded by the Minister of Labour and Employment, Simon Lalong, and the Minister of State for Labour and Employment, Nkeiruka Onyejeocha, brought together the NLC President, Joe Ajaero, and other union leaders in Abuja. Its primary objective was to forestall organized labor’s plans for another nationwide industrial action.
It has been announced that discussions will continue on a future date to address the contentious issues.
Furthermore, Minister Lalong is scheduled to convene a separate meeting with the leadership of the Trade Union Congress (TUC) later today in a continued effort to find common ground.
The present deadlock ensued after Minister Lalong extended an invitation to the NLC for talks in light of the union’s proposed nationwide strike, prompted by the removal of fuel subsidies and the prevailing economic hardships in the country.
It is noteworthy that an earlier invitation from the minister for discussions aimed at preventing the two-day strike that took place between September 5 and 6 was only attended by the Trade Union Congress (TUC), with the NLC conspicuously absent.
Addressing the core concerns during Monday’s meeting, Minister Lalong pledged to collaborate with organized labor to address their demands in an equitable and just manner. He appealed to the labor leaders to approach the discussions with realism and candor and expressed optimism that the meeting would culminate in a resolution that served the national interest.
In response, NLC President Joe Ajaero conveyed that his team attended the meeting with a mix of hope and skepticism, as previous similar meetings had not yielded favorable outcomes. He underscored that past strikes were a consequence of the frustration endured by Nigerian workers due to the hardships stemming from the removal of fuel subsidies. Ajaero pointed out that despite numerous meetings, none of the agreements reached with the Federal Government had been effectively addressed.
Furthermore, Ajaero vehemently condemned the recent incursion into the office of the National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW), leading to the arrest and detention of some of its leaders. He asserted that this action alone was sufficient reason for the NLC to proceed with their planned strike.