Nationwide strike: FG hurriedly shifts meeting with labour forward

• We are ready; have mobilized in all sector - Labour

The Federal Government is jittery over possible disruption to the nation’s economy as the Organised Labour is defiant to commence a nationwide strike from the night of Wednesday, October 16, over the implementation of the new national minimum wage with its consequential adjustments.

Tribune online learnt on Friday, October 11,  that the Federal Government has in reaction to feelers from Labour shifted the meeting, earlier scheduled with the Organised Labour for Tuesday to now hold on Monday.

The shift became apparent even as the organized labour declared on Friday night that they are well mobilized and ready for the strike, but would continue to review their strategies until the deal date.

In readiness for the nationwide strike, Labour had commenced mobilisation of its members, and workers to prepare to embark on industrial strike midnight of Wednesday.

Since the strike intent had been declared, the various institution of government, including the Senate, House of Representatives and the Minister of Labour and Employment, Sen. Chris Ngige, had been meeting severally with the Labour leaders; but the result of such meetings had not been favourable.

The labour leaders had been said to be adamant and questioned the decision of the Federal Government to fix Tuesday for such a crucial meeting, even when labour had scheduled Wednesday deadline for the commencement of the strike.

Tribune online learnt that the meeting with the Senate Committee on Labour and the one held with the minister did not change anything about the planned strike.

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Besides, the Labour leaders were said to be pissed off with government attitude, especially those earlier representing the government on the Joint National Public Service Negotiating Council (JNPSNC), for refusing to shift ground when labour was shifting position and appealing to them to do so, and put what they have on the table.

When contacted, the Special Adviser to the Minister of Labour on Media, Nwachukwu Ngige, said he has not confirmed the shift in the day from the minister, but promised to do so and get back to our correspondent.

When contacted, the President of Trade Union Congress (TUC), Comd. Quadri Olaleye said the Senate Committee and the minister met with organised labour but there was no positive discussion.

He said apart from the meeting the minister held with labour, he said “the chairman, Senate Committee on labour also tried to consult, to look for a soft landing and how to resolve the issue before the deadline, but I can tell you so far so good, there has not been any resolution, there has not been any positive discussion. So, labour still maintained the mandate likewise the ultimatum given.”

On the shift in date from Tuesday to Monday, he confirmed that the information getting to them point to that fact, adding, “one of our complaints even to the consultation council is that Tuesday is not feasible because our deadline is Wednesday, so, how can you have a meeting on Tuesday. When are you going to have a repeat meeting if there is a need to do that?

“Maybe, the system must have listened to us and from the information, I had with me, the meeting had been shifted back to Monday, for them to be able to consult well. But I can tell you if, by Monday or whenever the mandate is not met, we will go on strike. That is the mandate from our members. We as leaders, cannot change it.”

He added: “We are well mobilized, but we will continue to review our strategies until the deal date. We have mobilized in all sector and we are ready for it.”

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