NLC Holds Off Proposed Nationwide Strike Following Extensive Negotiations With FG
In a significant development, the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) confirmed on Monday its decision to cancel the planned nationwide strike scheduled for Wednesday. This announcement came after an intensive meeting held at the Presidential Villa in Abuja, which lasted nearly six hours. The resolutions were jointly declared by Femi Gbajabiamila, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, and Joe Ajaero, the President of the NLC.This meeting marked the third in a series of discussions between the government and key labor representatives, initiated after President Bola Tinubu’s decision to terminate petroleum subsidies one week ago. During the deliberations, all parties agreed that the NLC would immediately suspend the strike notice to facilitate further consultations. The Trade Union Congress (TUC) and the NLC will maintain their ongoing engagements with the Federal Government to ensure the closure of pertinent issues. Furthermore, a meeting has been scheduled for June 19, 2023, where labor representatives and the government will convene to finalize an implementation framework.Gbajabiamila emphasized the establishment of a joint committee consisting of the Federal Government, TUC, and NLC. This committee will critically review proposed wage increases or awards, while also establishing a comprehensive timeline for their implementation. Another important point of discussion focused on the $800 million World Bank Financed Cash transfer scheme. The participants agreed to examine the program’s viability and propose measures to include low-income earners.Additional resolutions reached during Monday’s meeting include a thorough review and detailed implementation plan for the CNG conversion program agreed upon by the labor centers in 2021. Furthermore, the education sector’s challenges will be addressed to enhance service delivery, and efforts will be made to complete the rehabilitation of the nation’s refineries. Moreover, the participants committed to developing a framework for the maintenance of roads and expanding rail networks throughout the country.Gbajabiamila clarified that the joint committee would assess all other demands submitted by the TUC to the Federal Government. However, the specific details of these demands will be addressed during subsequent sessions to ensure a comprehensive resolution.Ajaero, the President of the NLC, acknowledged that the resolutions formed a vital framework for achieving the agreements reached during the meeting. While progress has been made, he stressed the need for more specific discussions in the future to ensure a concrete resolution of the issues at hand.When questioned about the suspension of the strike, Ajaero pointed out that the Speaker had clearly articulated it during the meeting. Festus Osifo, the President of TUC, echoed the commitment of the organized labor to resolve the raised issues and alleviate the suffering of vulnerable Nigerians affected by the subsidy discontinuation. He also urged the Federal Government to take the resolutions seriously, emphasizing the labor’s dedication to prompt resolution for the benefit of all Nigerians.The meeting saw the presence of notable figures such as Adams Oshiomhole, the former Governor of Edo State, Mele Kyari, the Group Chief Executive Officer of NNPCL, Hon. James Faleke, and Kachollom Daju, the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Labour and Employment, representing the Federal Government. Additionally, Godwin Emefiele, the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, and Festus Keyamo, the former Minister of State for Labour and Employment, joined the government delegation later on.