The leadership of the Nigeria Labour Congress, its affiliate body, the Trade Union Congress, and National Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Workers Association (NUPENG) are now sharply divided over the proposed strike to protest the recent fuel price hike in the country.
While the Comrade Ayuba Waba-led NLC on Monday vowed to press ahead with its industrial action scheduled to commence by midnight of Tuesday/Wednesday if the Federal Government fails to reverse to old pump price of petrol, another wing of the congress led by Comrade Ajaero and NUPENG are backing the government’s action and pleading to give the FG a chance.
The meeting between the representatives of the government led by the Secretary to the Government of the Federation Babachir Lawal and NLC leadership was deadlocked on Monday night and negotiations will resume again on Tuesday.
NLC and TUC had on Monday asked the government not only to put all the nation’s refineries to optimal use, but also increase minimum wage, besides putting all necessary palliatives measures before deregulation of oil.
Both spoke in separate remarks before the formal commencement of the meeting it held with the government over the latter’s increment of fuel price last week.
But the government pleaded with the labour organisations to see reasons with its action and shelve its planned strike, saying it was open to dialogue with the bodies.
This was even as the Governor of Edo State, Adams Oshiomhole, who was at the meeting to mediate between the two warring sides, opposed agitation for wage increment, saying it was not sustainable at the moment.
The NLC President, Ayuba Wabba, and his TUC counterpart, Bobboi Kaigama, said there was the need for government to reverse to old pump price of fuel, given that the development was having a toll on the masses.
At the meeting, attended by the Secretary to Government of the Federation, Babachir Lawal; Minister of State for Petroleum, Ibe Kachukwu; Ministers of Labour and Employment, Dr. Chris Ngige; Budget and National Planning, Udo Udoma; Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed; and Solid Minerals, Kayode Fayemi, the two sides were unable to shift ground as at press time.
Ngige, who presented government’s position, said the government was open to dialogue, urging the labour organisations to consider the proposed industrial action as the least possible option.
Before the meeting dissolved into a technical session, newsmen were asked to leave.