Hardship: Bar Lalong or we’ll shun meeting with FG – Labour
Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) has threatened to boycott Monday’s meeting with the Federal Government if the Minister of Labour and Employment, Simon Lalong will attend the meeting.
It was learnt that the leadership of the organised labour has been invited to the State House, Abuja, to review the report on the implementation of the agreements reached with labour on measures put in place to address impact of fuel subsidy removal.
Chief of Staff to the President, Femi Gbajabiamila, sent invitation to leaders of both the NLC and TUC.
NLC President, Joe Ajaero, who addressed newsmen at the Labour House on Sunday, hinged their decision on the breach of agreement on the part of the minister on the issue raging among members of the National Union of Road Transport Workers.
He said the minister went against the agreement on the issue of crisis in the NURTW by taking sides with a faction to the dispute.
NLC had earlier accused Lalong of giving support to the illegal faction of the NURTW and encouraging them to conduct their own Delegates conference, both zonally and nationally in a bid to confer legitimacy on the group.
Based on the allegation, Ajaero said that NLC believed that any meeting with the Minister is a waste of time since he appears not to be in control of issues as far labour relations are concerned.
He said, “Hopefully, we may meet tomorrow (Monday) with the federal government to see whether the agreement with organised labour on the fuel subsidy removal palliatives were met or not.
“If that meeting is to hold, it will be without the Minister of Labour and Employment, because we will not be part of any meeting with the Federal Government that the Minister of Labour and Employment will attend.
“You will recall that the decision we had on National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW) was that all parties, including the Police should quit the premises pending the resolution of the dispute but that did not happen.
“Therefore any meeting we will have with the Federal Government, the Minister of Labour and Employment will not be part of it.”
Ajaero was flanked by other labour leaders at the press conference.
Similarly, the Labour movement vowed to go ahead with its protest in Owerri, Imo State capital, on Wednesday over unresolved dispute with the Imo State Government on the sack of workers and unpaid salaries.
It alleged that more workers have lost their lives in Imo state due to hunger than those killed by unknown gunmen and insecurity.
The labour leader said that NLC was deeply concerned about the “violation of the rights and privileges” of workers in Imo Government.
He threatened that Labour may be forced to make a political statement on the maltreatment of workers if the state government failed to resolve the dispute, adding that it will not hesitate to shut down the state on the election day.
“Despite our repeated efforts to engage in constructive dialogue and reach amicable agreements, the Imo State Government has become a habitual and serial breaker of these agreements, continuing to trample on the rights of workers in the state.
“As a result, we are left with no choice but to embark on mass protests and industrial actions beginning on (Wednesday), the 1st day of November, 2023 to demonstrate our outrage and stop the continuing violation of the rights and privileges of workers in the state.
“NLC president accused the Imo State Government of refusing to implement previous agreements reached with the workers in the state.”
He said that the state government has repeatedly reneged on agreements, most notably the accord reached on January 9th, 2021, between the government and Organised Labour.
Ajaero listed the infractions to include; outstanding salary arrears:, unjust declaration of workers as ghost workers, vandalisation of NLC State Secretariat, implementation of discriminatory pay, non-compliance with National Minimum Wage: and unsettled gratuity arrears.