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Planned labour strike: Governors intervene, meet union leaders behind closed doors

The leadership of Nigeria Governors’ Forum met labour leaders behind closed doors on Saturday in order to resolve the impasse over the recent hike in fuel pump price and electricity tariff.

Labour had threatened to embark on nationwide strike from Monday despite an order of the Nigeria Industrial Court stopping it.

At their meeting on Thursday, the NGF had mandated a committee led by its Chairman and Governor of Ekiti State, Kayode Fayemi, to wade into the matter.

At the meeting which held on Saturday with the labour leaders, it could not be ascertained if the unions agreed to shelve the strike.

At the meeting were the Nigeria Labour Congress President, Ayuba Wabba; the Trade Union Congress President, Quadri Olaleye, the NLC General Secretary, Emmanuel Ugboajah, the Director General of the NGF, Asishana Okauru, among others.

According to a communique issued after the meeting, the NGF chairman pleaded with labour to allow the governors to consult more broadly with the various stakeholders, including President Muhammadu Buhari, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo and the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha.

He pleaded with the NLC to note that the timing of the strike could aggravate an already worsening situation if not averted.

Fayemi stressed that Nigeria’s economy was already challenged by the COVID-19 pandemic, noting that any action embarked upon by the union at this time would further worsen their situation.

He added that no one conversant with the prevailing situation in the country would disagree with labour and its demands.

Fayemi expressed the hope that the gesture from the governors would also energise the leadership of labour to put a hold on their planned action.

On his part, the NLC President said the Federal Government violated the time-tested global process of dialogue and thanked the NGF Chairman for his efforts at ensuring that sanity returned to the negotiation table.

“When the cost of Petroleum Motor Spirit rises, the cost of everything in the country rises with it,” he said.

Commending the governors for the intervention, Wabba added, “I praise you (Fayemi) for showing a good grasp of this matter and I believe that if they had widened the mechanism for consultation and involved people like you, we wouldn’t have come to this impasse.”

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