The meeting between the Federal Government and Labour to avert the proposed strike over increase in the cost of the pump price of petrol and jerking up of electricity tariff ended in a deadlock after eight hours.
The meeting, which lasted from about 11am till past 7pm, could not find a common ground to avert the threat strike by Organised Labour.
The Federal Government’s team to the meeting included the Minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige; Minister of State, Labour, Festus Keyamo (SAN); Minister of Power, Saleh Mamman; Minister of Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola (SAN); Minister of State for Petroleum, Timipre Sylva; and Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, Mele Kyari.
The Labour team had the President of the Nigeria Labour Congress, Ayuba Wabba; President of the Trade Union Congress, Quadri Olaleye; Secretary General of the TUC, Musa Ozigi-Lawal; Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria President, Festus Osifo; and the President of Nigeria Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Association of Nigeria, Williams Akporeha.
At the meeting, while the organised labour was demanding the reversal of the hikes in the price of petrol and electricity tariffs, the Federal Government pleaded for understanding, saying it could not sustain the fuel subsidy.
Organised Labour is proposing the commencement of a nationwide strike beginning from September 23, 2020 if the government does not reverse the increases or tell it how it will alleviate the effects on workers and their families.
The dialogue, held at the Banquet Hall of the Presidential Villa, Abuja, failed to agree on anything concrete.
The parties only agreed that the unions should go for consultations with their executive council members and return for the second leg of the meeting at a future date.
The labour unions are expected to hold an expanded meeting on Wednesday to take a final position on the issues raised at the dialogue and revert back to the government.
Ngige had in his welcome address, said there was an urgent need for all stakeholders in the country to join hands to fashion out “how we can survive the economic challenges imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic.”
He described the meeting as “a bilateral dialogue between us as Nigerians to consider the state of the economy and events that have necessitated recent increases in electricity tariff and the price of Premium Motor Spirit.”