Home Top Stories Provide concrete solutions to palliatives, wage awards, NURTW crisis – NLC charges...

Provide concrete solutions to palliatives, wage awards, NURTW crisis – NLC charges FG


By Chibuike Nwabuko

Abuja (Sundiata Post) – As the Federal government, through the Minister of Labour and Employment, Simon Lalong and Minister of Labour and Employment for State, 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.

“At the end of this meeting, we hope that concrete solutions will be achieved. We attended this meeting today to show our commitment to the Nigerian project. We came with mixed feelings on whether the essence of this meeting will work or not. Because we have had so many meetings. Some are beyond this level, and nothing seems to come from it. But as great optimists in the Nigerian project, we can’t stop trying.

“So we are here with the belief that something may happen. But that trust gap is yet to be filled. And it calls for lamentation.

“The last strike action was an effect of a policy that does not have human face. There was no strike before the removal of fuel subsidy and promises. In fact it was government that said ask for palliative, ask for wage and we have asked for it, and couldn’t get any. That warning strike was product of frustration.”

Ajaero charged the Honourable Minister, and his team put their heads together. Added that government and labour should have a synergy and find a solution to the issue of the suffering of Nigerians caused by the fuel subsidy removal.

“We must work together so we don’t keep dragging this thing.”

On why NLC may shun meeting government if nothing tangible is achieved at the end of the meeting. He said, “We have discussed our demands with government. We have put them on paper. Issue of CNG, refineries working, cash transfer and wage award. Of all these agreements, not even one has been addressed. And you want us to meet every day. If any of the issues have been addressed, we could be patient that tomorrow the other will equally be attended to. But none has been addressed, and you keep calling us for a meeting tomorrow, next tomorrow. These things we are meeting on, are they working?

“Our job as trade unions is not to strike but when we entered into an agreement, it should be fullfilled. Because each party enter into an agreement genuinely, not by compulsion.”

On the issues of NURTW, Ajaero said, “Before the warning strike, we raised the issue of palliative, wage and then the issues on the invasion of the national office of the National Union of Road Transport Workers.

“Under the watch of the Ministry of Labour, a trade union office was violated. Police invaded it removed the elected officers of that trade union, and killed somebody. As we talk now, the authentic president and general secretary of the unions are behind bars. You plot a coup as a union, remove the leadership, and somebody announces himself as caretaker committee chairman.

“To keep them behind bars and we are negotiating here, what are we negotiating. On this instance alone, we can commence our strike action. We shouldn’t have been here today, but we felt we should bring this issue to you first. So address this issues while we have discussions on other issues.”

Earlier, the Minister of Labour and Employment, Simon Lalong, said; he and the Labour Minister for State represent the government’s commitment to addressing the recent labour crisis and nurturing economic advancement in Nigeria.

He added that Nigeria recently witnessed teething challenges, marked by industrial actions and unrest that have adversely affected the economy. “I appear before you today not just as a representative of the government, but as an advocate for constructive dialogue, aspiring to understand your concerns and working hand in hand to find lasting solutions that benefit all Nigerians.”

He said, “I fully acknowledge and appreciate the invaluable role the NLC plays in championing for 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 wellbeing of our workforce. We acknowledge the valid grievances that have fueled the recent labour crisis, and we are committed to addressing them just and equitably.

“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.

“I am confident that this gathering will produce resolutions that propel our labour sector towards greater strength, and our beloved country towards a brighter future. We eagerly look forward to our discussions today, knowing that the harmonious collaboration between the government and the NLC will facilitate an environment where our workforce thrives, and our economy flourishes.”

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