The Federal Government and the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) could not reach a consensus on the issue of fuel subsidy removal and the attendant hardship in the country, after a meeting held on Monday in Abuja.
The meeting, which was convened by the Minister of Labour and Employment, Simon Lalong, and his deputy, Nkeiruka Onyejeocha, was aimed at averting a looming strike action by the organised labour.
However, the meeting ended inconclusively and was adjourned to a later date. The minister is also expected to meet with the Trade Union Congress (TUC) today.
The meeting was a response to the NLC’s threat to embark on another nationwide strike over the removal of fuel subsidies, which has led to increased prices of petrol and other commodities.
The minister had earlier invited both the NLC and the TUC for talks to prevent the two-day strike that took place between September 5 and 6. But only the TUC honoured the invitation, according to the ministry.
Seeking a Balanced Solution At the meeting, Lalong assured the labour leaders that the government was willing to work with them to find a balanced and fair solution to their demands.
He urged them to be realistic and honest in their negotiations. He also expressed hope that the meeting would result in a resolution that would serve the national interest.
On his part, NLC President Joe Ajaero said they came to the meeting with mixed feelings, wondering if anything positive would come out of it, as previous meetings had yielded no results.
He lamented that the workers were suffering from the effects of the subsidy removal and that none of the agreements reached with the government had been implemented.
He also strongly condemned the raid on the office of the National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW), where some of its leaders were arrested and detained. He said that action alone was enough to trigger a strike by the NLC.