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Labour Shuns Meeting with Federal Government, Insist on Indefinite Strike

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Leaders of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) have announced that the body will no longer enter into any form of negotiations with the Nigerian government over a new national minimum wage for workers across the country.

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The body further announced that its scheduled indefinite strike will go ahead as planned on Tuesday, November 6, 2018.

The position of Labour was made known on Sunday through the General Secretary of the NLC, Peter Ozo-Eson whio said;

“The strike is going on. Nothing has changed. The strike will begin on Tuesday. That is the directive that has been given. It will be a total strike.

All trade unions in the country have agreed to go on strike and we expect every union to go on strike from Tuesday.

 Negotiations have ended. Yes, we have a meeting of the tripartite committee on Monday and we will attend as long as it is to sign the report of what has been agreed. We will sign that so that it can be submitted to the government. We will not change our position.”

Although it was widely reported that the Industrial Court had barred all forms of strike action by Unions in the country regarding the new minimum wage, the NLC stalwart said the union had not been served with the court processes and was therefore unaware of the development.

“We are not aware of any court order and we have not received anything from the courts. We have not been put on notice and so we are not aware of any court order. We have given the required notice of strike; we have given the required time of notice and we will after the expiration of that notice proceed on strike unless the government does what it is expected before the strike begins.” He said

The National Industrial Court presided over by Justice Sanusi Kado in Abuja had given an order stopping the strike following an ex parte application moved on behalf of the Federal Government by the Solicitor-General of the Federation and Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Justice, Mr. Dayo Apata.

At the time, the Judge said he had given the order based on the urgency of the matter and the need to protect the overall interest of the public.

He directed that the orders stopping the planned strike be immediately served on both the NLC and the TUC.

In order to forestall the looming strike, the Federal government convened a meeting of stakeholders including representatives of organised labour and the private sector in Abuja on Sunday.

The parley was however shunned by leaders of organised labour who insisted there was nothing further to negotiate for.

The meeting was however attended by some government officials and members of the organised private sector who met behind closed doors at the Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation with the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha; Minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige; Minister of Finance, Zainab Ahmed, and several permanent secretaries.

Mustapha, who spoke before the meeting went into closed session, gave an indication that the tripartite committee on national minimum wage set up by the Federal Government would be concluding works on its report on Monday.

“I assure you that the government is waiting for the report and will immediately set up processes required for implementation. Hopefully, their work would be concluded when they meet tomorrow (Monday) and append their signatures to the report.

They will then transmit to me and I will seek an audience with the President to present it to him. The report will go through NEC, Council of State before a draft executive bill will be sent to NASS. I am awaiting the report of the committee. They will meet tomorrow (Monday) at 11am.” He said.

Yinusa McBrian Momoh is an enthusiastic individual who believes in the greatest good for the greatest number as well as a creative Wordsmith with interests in Management Training, Research, Content Development and Digital Marketing

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