The government of President Bola Tinubu has once again called upon the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) for a meeting regarding its proposed indefinite strike. This announcement was made by Labour Minister Simon Lalong.
On September 4, Mr Lalong had invited both the NLC and the Trade Union Congress (TUC) to a meeting aimed at preventing a previously warned two-day nationwide strike. However, only the TUC attended the meeting.
Mr Lalong has instructed the Department of Trade Unions Services and Industrial Relations to arrange a meeting with the NLC leadership on Monday. He emphasized the importance of dialogue between the unions and the government to resolve outstanding issues and prevent further economic disruption.
He stated, “President Bola Tinubu’s administration will consistently engage with organised labour and address its concerns following proper consultation and negotiation. This is crucial for maintaining industrial harmony, which is key to achieving the Renewed Hope Agenda.”
Furthermore, on September 1, the NLC National Executive Council issued a communique threatening to commence an indefinite strike within 21 days of its release. The NLC and TUC are seeking wage awards, implementation of palliatives, tax exemptions and allowances for public sector workers, and a review of the minimum wage.
Although the federal government pledged to restructure its engagement framework with organised labour regarding palliatives, no action has been taken despite the expiration of the eight-week deadline set for concluding this process in August.
The committees were given eight weeks to complete their tasks and expedite the implementation of a framework to mitigate the impact of petrol subsidy removal on Nigerians. However, weeks after this deadline passed, the sub-committees have yet to meet or fulfill their mandates.
Since June 19, Mr Tinubu has established the Presidential Steering Committee and various sub-committees to discuss the framework for palliatives. These sub-committees were formed to implement the federal government’s palliative package in areas such as Cash Transfers, Social Investment Programme, Cost of Governance, Energy, Mass Transit and Housing. This was a result of a private meeting between President Tinubu and the leadership of NLC and TUC during a nationwide protest by organized labour.