Fayemi to meet Buhari over nationwide strike, as NGF parleys organised labour
The chairman of Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF), Governor Kayode Fayemi is expected to meet President Muhammadu Buhari as part of efforts geared toward halting the nationwide strike planned by the Organised Labour as from Monday.
The details of the meeting were contained in a communique issued after the meeting with the leadership of Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and Trade Union Congress (TUC) at the official residence of the NGF chairman in Abuja.
The Forum also expressed optimism that the parties are on the path to resolving the impasse occasioned by the threat by workers to embark on industrial action if the Federal Government does not rescind the recent decisions to increase the pump price of petrol and electricity tariff in the country.
According to the communique, the NGF chairman and Governor of Ekiti State, Dr John Kayode Fayemi spoke for the Forum while the NLC president, Comrade Ayuba Wabba who was accompanied by the TUC president, Quadri Olaleye and the NLC general secretary, Emmanuel Ugboajah, to the meeting. Also at the meeting was the Director-General of the NGF, Mr Asishana Okauru.
“The chairman explained that governors decided to wade into the on-going negotiations with a view to broadening consultations and assisting to bring the impasse to an end, thus averting the impending strike action.
“He pleaded with the NLC that the timing of the action was inauspicious and could aggravate an already worsening situation if not averted.
“Dr John Kayode Fayemi emphasised that the plight of workers in the country was already in dire straits and that any action embarked upon by the union at this time would further worsen their situation as contained in the communique issued by governors after their first emergency meeting on Thursday, 24th September 2020, since the outbreak of the pandemic and eventual lockdown of the country, last March.
“The NGF chairman said no one that is conversant with the prevailing situation in the country would disagree with labour and its demands, as it were, but pleaded that governors be given time to consult more broadly with the various stakeholders, including the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Mr Boss Mustapha, the vice president and the President.
“This, he said would be top priority for the NGF and promised to head straight to the Presidency once the meeting was over.
“The governors’ chairman expressed the hope that this 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 returns to the negotiation table.
“When the cost of PMS rises, the cost of everything in the country rises with it,” the NLC president explained.
He agreed with the NGF chairman and also praised him for agreeing to broaden the mechanism for consultation on the matter saying, “I praise you 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 pass.”
In conclusion, Dr Fayemi stated that Government and Labour are not that far apart in the negotiation and the differences are not irreconcilable.
According to NGF chairman, “our President who is always on the side of workers will not be averse to the issues being raised and I’m hopeful for an amicable settlement on the issues highlighted.”