Nigerian government and NLC meeting ends in deadlock

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The meeting between the Nigerian Labor Congress (NLC) and federal government officials over the policy of removing fuel subsidies ended in a deadlock on Monday night.

The meeting was held in Abuja and was attended by the Minister of Labor and Employment, Simon Lalong, the Minister of State for Labor and Employment, Nkeiruka Onyejeocha, the NLC Chairman, Joe Ajaero, and other leaders.

Earlier this month, the NLC embarked on a two-day nationwide strike to protest the Nigerian government’s failure to offer lasting solutions to the challenges caused by the removal of fuel subsidies.

The union accused the Nigerian government of failing to implement some of the resolutions from its previous meetings.

Earlier, the minister invited the NLC and the Trade Union Congress (TUC) to hold talks to avoid the two-day strike held between September 5 and 6.


However, “only the TUC turned up at the meeting,” Channels quoted Mr Lalong as saying.

Meeting

On Monday, Lalong emphasized the government’s willingness to cooperate with union members to address the union’s demands.

the Minister of Labor and Employment, Simon Lalong; and the Minister of State for Labor and Employment, Nkeiruka Onyejeocha; meet with the Chairman of the NLC, Joe Ajaero, in Abuja on Monday, September 18, 2023. (Photo credit: Facebook/Simon Bako Lalong, KSGG, CON, HM Labor & Employment)

“In recent months, our country has witnessed initial challenges, marked by industrial actions and unrest that have negatively affected the economy. I stand before you today not only as a representative of the government, but as an advocate of constructive dialogue, aspiring to understand your concerns and working hand in hand to find lasting solutions that benefit all Nigerians,” Vanguard quoted Mr. Lalong as saying. .

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“I fully recognize and appreciate the invaluable role the NLC plays in defending the rights and well-being of our workers. Their dedication and tireless advocacy have been instrumental in creating a fair and inclusive work environment and ensuring the well-being of our workforce.

“We recognize the valid grievances that have fueled the recent labor crisis and are committed to addressing them fairly and equitably. We must also recognize the economic realities we face. In addressing the concerns of our workforce, we must be mindful of striking a balance that promotes economic growth and ensures sustainable progress for our nation.”

The minister called on concerned leaders of various agencies to engage in constructive and open-minded dialogue, enabling them to close any gap that may exist between the interests of workers and the ultimate goal of driving economic progress.

“In the spirit of unity and with the utmost commitment to the betterment of our nation, let us take this opportunity to listen to and understand each other.

the Minister of Labor and Employment, Simon Lalong; and the Minister of State for Labor and Employment, Nkeiruka Onyejeocha; meet with the Chairman of the NLC, Joe Ajaero, in Abuja on Monday, September 18, 2023. (Photo credit: Facebook/Simon Bako Lalong, KSGG, CON, HM Labor & Employment)

“Together, let’s explore innovative approaches, reinventing strategies that improve working conditions and benefits for workers while fostering a strong economy. I am confident that this meeting will produce resolutions that move our workforce toward greater strength and our beloved country toward a brighter future.

“We look forward to our discussions today, knowing that harmonious collaboration between the government and the NLC will facilitate an environment where our workforce thrives and our economy flourishes,” he said.

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In his response, Ajaero said his team was at the meeting with mixed feelings, wondering whether “something will happen or not,” as many similar meetings in the past had failed to achieve a positive response.

He further noted that the past strikes were a result of the frustration faced by Nigerian workers due to the effects of hardship caused by the removal of fuel subsidies.

According to him, none of the agreements with the federal government were addressed despite a series of meetings that were held.

“We came in with mixed feelings about whether it would work or not because we have had many meetings, some beyond this level, but nothing seems to come of it. But I have great optimism in the Nigerian project; “We can’t stop trying,” he stated.

“We are here with that belief that something can happen. But that doubt, that gap in trust is what we have feared for a long time and deserves regret.

READ ALSO: NLC strike: Nigerian government calls for two weeks to end demands

“The strike is the effect of a policy that has no human face. There was no strike before the fuel subsidy was eliminated. It was the government that said ask for palliatives, ask for salaries and we have asked for it. That warning shot was a product of frustration, until this moment.”

Ajaero said leaders must work together to ensure they reach a compromise and address the plight of Nigerians.

the Minister of Labor and Employment, Simon Lalong; and the Minister of State for Labor and Employment, Nkeiruka Onyejeocha; meet with the Chairman of the NLC, Joe Ajaero, in Abuja on Monday, September 18, 2023. (Photo credit: Facebook/Simon Bako Lalong, KSGG, CON, HM Labor & Employment)

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“There is the issue of CNG, the refineries operating, the allocation of salaries and the transfer of cash. Of all these agreements, not a single one has been addressed by the government and you want us to meet every day.

“Some of us have been around for a long time and our job is not to go on strike, but when an agreement is reached, that agreement must be implemented. Before the warning strike, we raised the issues of palliatives and wage compensation and the NURTW.

“No one who earns N30,000 or N60,000 will buy fuel for a week. We need to find solutions to all of these problems and we have articulated them. Every time we finish they ask for time. They asked for eight weeks and we gave it to them. They asked for four weeks and we gave it to them. We don’t know what to say to our colleagues or members again. We hope that at the end of this meeting we will have something to say to our members. “This is a heartbreaking meeting,” he stated.

Newslodge understands that another meeting has been scheduled for a later date.

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Nigerian government and NLC meeting ends in deadlock

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