NLC Shuns FG, Begins Strike Today




To prevent the two-day warning strike that organised labour will start today, the Nigeria Labour Congress yesterday abstained from the meeting called by Simon Lalong, Minister of Labour and Employment.

The National Union of Air Transport Employees, the Association of Nigeria Aviation Professionals, the National Association of Aircraft Pilots and Engineers, among other affiliate unions of the NLC, have recently issued a joint circular ordering all parties involved in the aviation industry to comply with the NLC's request to join the strike.

Due to the current difficulty brought on by the removal of the petrol subsidy, the NLC had last Friday issued a two-day warning strike notice.

Only the Trade Union Congress (TUC) leadership, led by its president Festus Osifo, was present at the meeting with the government representatives.

Osifo stated that the TUC leadership would keep in contact with the federal government to make sure that its demands are met before the evening meeting enters a closed-door session.

He said, “In the palliatives that were rolled out, we’ve not seen anything put in place for federal workers. We need a wage award. The palliatives rolled out by the government are not far – reaching. We believe that the government can do much more.”

Following its National Executive Council meeting on Sunday, the TUC issued a statement on Monday in which it expressed support for some of the measures the government has taken to mitigate the consequences of the elimination of subsidies on employees.

It urged the government to increase the amount provided for palliatives as the N5bn given to each state was “grossly inadequate.”

“That palliatives in themselves do not solve the long term challenges or hardship faced by the people, such long lasting programmes and initiatives should be evolved that will properly address the sufferings of the people in the long term,” the communique read in part.

Lalong said the government set a two-week timeline on wage award, tax exemptions and allowances to public sector workers to “cushion the pains and anguish they are going through as a result of subsidy removal,” as put forward by the TUC.

The minister said: “We agreed that there should be no strike within the two week period while we’re doing our deliberations and working towards realising some of these objectives.”

Earlier at a press briefing, Lalong had appealed to the labour to prevail on all its affiliate unions to suspend their planned strike.

He said the government would neither take workers for granted nor fail to appreciate their support and understanding.

“We shall continue to pursue policies aimed at massive employment generation in all sectors of the economy as well as look into immediate challenges that have emerged from the policies of the government. We cannot do this in an atmosphere devoid of industrial peace.” 



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