The meeting between representatives of the Federal Government and the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) to avert an imminent nationwide strike action over the fuel subsidy removal has ended in a deadlock.
The Minister of Labour and Employment, Simon Lalong, and the Minister of State for Labour and Employment, Nkeiruka Onyejeocha, met with the NLC President, Joe Ajaero, and other labour leaders in Abuja on Monday.
The meeting was called by Lalong to stop the union’s planned nationwide strike owing to the removal of fuel subsidies and the hardship in the country.
During the meeting, Lalong promised to partner with organised labour to address the demands of the labour unions in a just and balanced way.
He appealed to the labour leaders to be realistic and frank in the discussions and also expressed optimism that the meeting would lead to a resolution that is of national interest.
In his response, Ajaero said his team was in the meeting with mixed feelings, to see whether “something will happen or not,” as many similar meetings in the past had failed to yield a positive response.
He also noted that the past strikes that the minister referred to were a result of the frustration Nigerian workers faced due to the effects of the hardship occasioned by the removal of fuel subsidies.
Ajaero also noted that not one of the agreements with the FG had been addressed despite a series of meetings that had been held.
He vehemently condemned the invasion of the office of the Nigeria Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW), with some of its leaders arrested and detained.
According to him, that action alone is enough for the NLC to proceed with their planned strike.
However, after two hours, the meeting ended without a concrete resolution to the union’s demands, and the meeting is expected to continue at a later date.
The Labour minister is also expected to hold a meeting with the leadership of the Trade Union Congress (TUC) today.