NLC Strike Still Looms as Second Meeting with Nigerian ...
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NLC Strike Still Looms as Second Meeting with Nigerian Government Fails to Resolve Fuel Subsidy Issues

The spectre of an NLC strike is growing more imminent as the second round of discussions between the Bola Tinubu-led Nigerian government and the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) ended without resolution on Monday. 

This comes two weeks after the NLC suspended its initial two-day warning strike.

Convened by the Minister of Labour and Employment, Simon Lalong, the meeting failed to make headway on key issues that have been fuelling the labour unrest. 

These issues range from the controversial removal of fuel subsidies to the hardship that has ensued as a result.

The Role of the Trade Union Congress (TUC)

Interestingly, while the NLC boycotted the first meeting, members of the Trade Union Congress (TUC) were present. The TUC leadership has indicated that they are open to dialogue, but like the NLC, they are protesting the adverse effects of the fuel subsidy removal.

Workers’ Demands

The labour unions are demanding several concessions from the Federal Government. 

These include the implementation of a new minimum wage, the provision of Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) and conversion centres as petrol alternatives, and the settlement of all withheld salaries for university lecturers.

Government’s Response

Despite the deadlock, Minister Lalong remains optimistic. In a post-meeting briefing, he acknowledged the NLC’s role in advocating for workers’ rights and welfare. 

He assured that most concerns would be addressed before the deadline, while also emphasising the need to balance workers’ demands with economic realities.

NLC’s Stance

NLC President Joe Ajaero expressed frustration at the government’s lack of action. He highlighted that none of the workers’ demands have been met, despite the earlier warning strike. 

Ajaero also raised concerns about the recent crisis in the National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW), criticising the police’s takeover of the union’s secretariat.

What’s Next?

Ajaero warned that if no progress is made before the ultimatum expires, an indefinite NLC strike would commence. He stated, “Nothing has been done on the issue of wage award and cash transfer or the ASUU issues. However, we believe that between now and the next few days, when the ultimatum expires, something will happen.”

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