The meeting between the federal government and organised labour, Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and Trade Union Congress (TUC), was adjourned yesterday till Monday after both sides failed to agree on terms for the resolution of the dispute over the increase in petrol price and electricity tariffs in the country.
However, the planned industrial action scheduled for Monday by the labour unions is put in abeyance, pending further consultations with their various organs during the weekend on the offers made by the federal government to cushion the effects of the price hikes on workers.
The Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Mr Boss Mustapha, who led the government team, also yesterday informed the unions that President Muhammadu Buhari had asked him to reassure the labour leaders and Nigerians that the government’s decisions on petrol price and electricity tariffs were never intended to cause any pain or harm.
In the meantime, the National Industrial Court has granted an interim injunction restraining the NLC and TUC, their officers, affiliates and privies from embarking on any strike or stoppage of work from Monday, September 28 2020.
But in a swift reaction, the TUC described the court injunction as a “non-issue.”
The Minister of Labour and Employment, Senator Chris Ngige, who briefed journalists on the outcome of the meeting last night, said the meeting was fruitful as it afforded the federal government the opportunity to present some of the palliatives federal government intends to implement to cushion the effects of the petrol price increase and the upward review of electricity tariffs.
Ngige said: “Fruitful meeting. They are going back to their organs. When they consult their organs tomorrow, next tomorrow maybe they will take a new decision.
“We have requested them to shelve the strike. We have appealed to them to shelve the strike.
“The government side agreed on proposals with them on the palliative to cushion the effect of the rise in petroleum products and electricity.”
Ngige said the meeting agreed to adjourn till 3pm on Monday.
NLC President, Mr Ayuba Wabba, said the meeting had been adjourned till Monday so that labour could consult with its organs.
BrandiQ gathered from sources that the government side had offered palliatives, including mass and affordable housing for workers, and procurement of transport buses to help reduce the impact of the rise in fuel price.
The federal government was also said to have proposed that the Central Bank (CBN) and the Ministry of Agriculture will help farmers with loans, including N2.5 billion as fresh palliatives to workers on levels 1-4.
They also agreed that the government will not tax minimum wage.