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Labour Accuses FG of Delay as NLC Exco Meets Today

The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) has expressed its frustration with the Federal Government’s delay in negotiating post-subsidy palliatives for workers, a situation that has exacerbated the hardships faced by the citizens since the removal of fuel subsidies four months ago.

In response to what they perceive as government inaction, the organized labor is convening an emergency National Executive Council (NEC) meeting today, where they will deliberate on their next course of action. The NEC includes all presidents, general secretaries, treasurers of NLC’s affiliate unions, state chairpersons, and secretaries of NLC state councils, among others.

A senior NLC official, speaking on condition of anonymity, hinted that the Congress might take drastic actions to compel the government to return to the negotiation table. The NLC had previously embarked on a two-day warning strike in early September and had threatened to proceed with an indefinite strike to press for their demands.

The 21-day ultimatum issued by the NLC to the government expired last Friday, leading to the scheduling of the emergency NEC meeting.

Among their demands, the NLC and the Trade Union Congress (TUC) have requested wage awards, implementation of palliatives, tax exemptions, and allowances for public sector workers, as well as a review of the minimum wage.

Back in June, President Bola Tinubu established the Presidential Steering Committee and various sub-committees to discuss the framework for palliatives. However, the eight-week timeframe set for the conclusion of this process expired in August with no progress made. This has left the leadership of the NLC and TUC frustrated.

Joe Ajaero, the National President of the NLC, has voiced his dissatisfaction, stating that none of their demands has been addressed by the Federal Government.

The NLC official emphasized that the government has had ample time to act, highlighting that it has been four months since the fuel subsidy was removed without any action to alleviate the hardships faced by workers and the general public.

The NEC meeting will determine the next steps, including the possibility of an immediate strike. The NLC official also noted that private sector employers are keen on reaching an agreement with the government to avoid the negative impacts of a labor strike on their operations.

Meanwhile, the Trade Union Congress (TUC) is awaiting feedback from the Federal Government following recent post-subsidy removal negotiations. The TUC had raised concerns about the immense pressure faced by workers, making life exceedingly difficult.

Minister of Labour and Employment, Simon Lalong, met with TUC representatives and assured them that the President was aware of their concerns and had given directives on addressing them upon his return from the United Nations General Assembly.

In the midst of these developments, the Minister of Information, Idris Mohammed, assured that ongoing engagements with the unions were continuing.

As the NEC meeting unfolds, various state chapters of the NLC, such as those in Katsina, Niger, Kwara, and Zamfara, are prepared to mobilize their members based on the outcomes. The NEC meeting is expected to shape the next course of action for Nigerian workers regarding the government’s response to their demands.

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