BY Milcah Tanimu
The meeting between the Nigerian government and the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) to discuss post-subsidy removal palliatives for workers has concluded without reaching a consensus. The NLC has maintained its stance that the government must fulfill its demands before the expiration of the 21-day ultimatum, issued on September 1.
The NLC’s ultimatum was prompted by delays in distributing palliatives, and the union had threatened to declare an indefinite strike if their demands were not met. As a precursor to this, the NLC organized a two-day warning strike on September 5 and 6, which disrupted social and economic activities in various states.
Key demands made by the NLC include wage awards, the implementation of palliatives, tax exemptions, allowances for public sector workers, and a review of the minimum wage. Despite the government’s commitment to restructuring the framework for engagement on palliatives, the eight-week timeline for concluding the process passed without tangible results.
Following the meeting, both parties pledged to continue working towards addressing the NLC’s demands. The NLC president stressed that decisions on the demands presented to the government could only be made by the Presidency.
He further emphasized that the two-day warning strike was a response to the frustration stemming from the country’s economic situation and that none of their demands had been addressed. However, he expressed optimism about reaching a resolution within the remaining days of the ultimatum.
The Minister of Labor underscored the importance of striking a balance between addressing workers’ concerns and promoting economic growth and sustainability.
The government appealed to the labor unions to embrace dialogue and avoid a strike, emphasizing the significance of open-minded and constructive discussions in finding solutions that benefit both workers and the nation’s economic progress.