NGF meets with labour leaders in a bid to avert Monday’s strike
The Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF) met earlier on Saturday with leaders of the organized labour in a bid to avert the industrial action planned to commence on Monday.
Nigerian workers, led by the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) and the Trade Union Congress (TUC) planned the strike to protest Federal Government’s decision to increase the prices of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) and electricity.
NGF’s spokesman, Abulrazaque Bello-Barkindo said, in a statement on Saturday that the Governors and leaders of the organised labour “are on the path to resolving the impasse occasioned by the threat by workers to embark on industrial action if the Federal Government does not rescind the recent decisions to increase the pump price of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) and electricity tariff in the country.”
He said the meeting, held at the Abuja residence of the Chairman of the NGF, Govrernor Kayode Fayemi of Ekiti State, was also attended by the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) President, Comrade Ayuba Wabba, the Trade Union Congress (TUC) President, Quadri Olaleye, the NLC General Secretary, Emmanuel Ugboajah and the Director General of the NGF, Mr. Asishana Okauru.
Part of the statement reads: “The NGF Chairman explained that Governors decided to wade into the on-going negotiations with a view to broadening consultations and assisting to bring the impasse to an end, thus averting the impending strike action.
He pleaded with the NLC that the timing of the action was inauspicious and could aggravate an already worsening situation if not averted.
“Dr John Kayode Fayemi emphasised that the plight of workers in the country was already in dire straits and that any action embarked upon by the union at this time would further worsen their situation as contained in the communique issued by governors after their first emergency meeting on Thursday, 24th September, 2020, since the outbreak of the pandemic and eventual lockdown of the country, last March.
“The NGF Chairman said, no one that is conversant with the prevailing situation in the country would disagree with labour and its demands, as it were, but pleaded that Governors be given time to consult more broadly with the various stakeholders, including the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Mr. Boss Mustapha, the Vice President and the President.
“This he said would be top priority for the NGF and promised to head straight to the presidency once the meeting was over.
“The NGF Chairman expressed the hope that this gesture from the governors would also energise the leadership of labour to put a hold on their planned action.
“In conclusion, Dr. Fayemi stated that Government and Labour are not that far apart in the negotiation and the differences are not irreconcilable. According to NGF Chairman, “our President who is always on the side of workers will not be averse to the issues being raised and I’m hopeful for an amicable settlement on the issues highlighted
“On his part, the President of the NLC said the Federal Government violated the time-tested global process of dialogue and thanked the NGF Chairman for his efforts at ensuring that sanity returns to the negotiation table.
“When the cost of PMS rises, the cost of everything in the country rises with it, the NLC President explained.
“He agreed with the NGF Chairman and also praised him for agreeing to broaden the mechanism for consultation on the matter saying “I praise you for showing a good grasp of this matter and I believe that if they had widened the mechanism for consultation and involved people like you, we wouldn’t have come to this pass.”