Breaking: Labour, SGF invites Organised Labour to closed-door meeting

The Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF,) George Akume and the leadership of the Organised Labour are currently in a meeting.

A source said: “Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC, and its counterpart, the Trade Union Congress of Nigeria TUC, have been invited for a meeting.

“We are there now to hear from them.”

Though the source did not reveal the reason for the meeting, it won’t be unconnected with the minimum wage and ongoing strike across the country.

The Organised Labour had declared an indefinite nationwide strike from Monday, June 3rd over the failure of the federal government to conclude negotiations on a new national minimum wage and reverse the hike in the electricity tariff.

In an eight-point resolution by the Presidents of NLC and TUC, Joe Ajaero and Festus Osifo, respectively, they decried the continued absence of the state governors at the meeting, and also the absence of any Federal Government representative with appropriate authority to commit them to any outcome.

In an address on behalf of the two Labour centres, Osifo said “NLC and TUC express grave concern and disappointment over the Federal Government’s failure to conclude and pass into Law a new National Minimum Wage Act and reverse the vexatious hike in electricity tariff to N65/kwh. Today’s meeting further demonstrated the unseriousness and apparent contempt with which the Nigerian state holds the demands of Nigerian workers and people. No Governor was present and Ministers were absent except the Minister of state for Labour and Employment who doubles as a conciliator.

“There was none present on the side of the government with appropriate authority to commit them to any outcome; in essence, the government abandoned the meeting.

“We consider this disdainful and it shows a lack of commitment to a successful National Minimum Wage negotiation exercise. You will all recall that during the last May Day celebration on the 1st of May 2024, we issued a clear ultimatum to the Federal Government, demanding the conclusion of this critical exercise by the end of the month. However, there has been no significant progress or commitment from the government towards meeting this demand.

“We also demanded a reversal of the last hike in electricity tariff to N225/kwh back to N65/kwh and stoppage of the apartheid categorization of consumers into Bands.

“We carried out a nationwide one-day protest on the 13th day of May 2024 giving the government until the last day of this month to take action but the government has not entirely shown any positive response despite the national outrage at this insensitive hike.

“Nigerian workers, who are the backbone of our nation’s economy, deserve fair and decent wages that reflect the current economic realities. It is disheartening that despite our repeated calls and the clear ultimatum issued, the government continues to neglect its responsibility to the workforce. It has rather than engage in a dialogue persistently raised its attack dogs to seek to denigrate and intimidate trade union leaders.

“It continues to remain our belief that the people ought to be the only reason for governance and nothing else. The government must therefore seek the welfare of the people at all times and refusal to put the people first compels all patriots to take the right step in assisting the government govern well. The hike in electricity tariff impoverishes further the already suffering people and denies them the right to decent living. Instead of taking remedial action or engaging in a meaningful dialogue, Nigerians were visited with a barrage of the usual propaganda.

“In light of this persistent inaction, we, the NLC and TUC, hereby issue a notice of commencement of an indefinite nationwide strike to the Federal Government. We reiterate that since the National Minimum Wage negotiation exercise has not been concluded and the agreed wage passed into law; the hike in electricity tariff has not been reversed and the categorization of consumers into Bands has not stopped as demanded; Nigerian workers are compelled by these failures to embark on an indefinite nationwide industrial action beginning on Monday, the 3rd of June, 2024 to press home our demands.

“The NLC and TUC are united in this cause, and we call on all our affiliates and state councils, Civil Society Organizations, CSOs, market men and women and the general populace to prepare for a decisive action.

We cannot and will not accept any further delays or excuses. The welfare of Nigerian workers and people is non-negotiable, and we are ready to take all necessary steps to ensure that their rights are protected and their voices heard. We regret the inconveniences this refusal of the federal government to heed our demands may cause all of us but we assure you of our determination to pursue this cause to its conclusion.”

(Vanguard News)

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