Strike threat: FG, Labour to continue meeting

The meeting, which lasted into the early hours of Tuesday, was adjourned to allow both sides to consult further with their constituencies before reconvening

The meeting between the Federal Government and the Labour movement to avert the proposed nationwide strike over the removal of fuel subsidy will reconvene on Tuesday at 3pm.
This was disclosed by Babachir Lawal, the Secretary to the Government of the Federation.
The meeting, which lasted into the early hours of Tuesday, was adjourned to allow both sides to consult further with their constituencies before reconvening.
Lawal, who led the government delegation in the closed-door meeting, while speaking with journalists thereafter, commended all parties for attending the meeting.
He said: “We had a very fruitful discussion.
“The discussions were frank and friendly.
“We have covered very many grounds on the issues in contention and we have almost reached some agreements on quite a number of issues.
“The night has gone far and there is a need to consult our constituencies.
“We have agreed to adjourn to reconvene later in the day at 3pm.
“By the time every group reports back to those that sent them to this meeting, hopefully, we will conclude early.”
Lawal noted that the discussions were frank, adding that there was empathy to all contending positions.
He expressed optimism that the end result would be beneficial to all.
On his part, Ayuba Wabba, the President of the Nigeria Labour Congress, who led the Labour delegation, said the union presented their demands just as the government put forward its position.
Abba said: “As you are aware, our organisations are very democratic and, therefore, we need to also consult before we can actually take a position later in the day.
“So, we have adjourned the meeting to do further consultations.”
Similarly, Bobboi Kaigama, the President of the Trade Union Congress of Nigeria, said the deliberations were fruitful.
Kaigama said both parties had agreed that they would further consult with their organs and reconvene later in the day.
The government delegation also had a separate closed-door meeting with the NLC faction led by Joe Ajaero.
Ajaero also told journalists that his group would meet again at 5pm on Tuesday.
He said the group would come up with a proposal to the Federal Government on the way forward.
According to him, the contending issues raised at the meeting were the National Minimum Wage, N500 billion social intervention fund and the reconstitution of the board of the Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency.
He said: “The board is responsible for fixing of prices and we equally told them the issue of price increases had featured in past administrations.
“We equally demanded from them to tell us whether this is deregulation or price regulated market.
“And there were other issues we also raised and we were told to come up with a proposal.”
NAN reports that the government delegation included Governor Adams Oshiomhole of Edo State; the Minister of Labour and Employment, Senator Chris Ngige; and the Minister of State for Petroleum, Ibe Kachikwu.
Others were the Minister of State for Solid Minerals, Dr. Kayode Fayemi; the Minister of Information, Alhaji Lai Mohammed; and the Special Adviser to the President on National Assembly Matters Ita Enang, among others.
On the Labour delegations were the General Secretaries of both NLC and TUC, Dr. Peter Ozo-Eson and Simeso Amachree.
Others were the Deputy President of the NLC and TUC, Najim Yaseem and Austin Etafo; as well as the President, Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria, Francis Olabode Johnson.
On the NLC faction delegation were Igwu Achese, the President of the Nigeria Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers; and the Nigeria Union of Electricity Employees among others.