The Chairman of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum and Governor of Ekiti State, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, on Saturday met with the leadership of the NLC and TUC in Abuja as part of moves to avert the nationwide industrial action.
Fayemi was also quoted as saying he would meet with President, Muhammadu Buhari, on the issue.
These were contained in a statement titled, ‘Final Communiqué,’ issued by the Head, Media and Public Affairs of the NGF, Abdulrazaque Bello-Barkindo.
The statement reads, “The Nigeria Governors’ Forum and the Nigeria Labour Congress are on the path to resolving the impasse occasioned by the threat by workers to embark on industrial action if the Federal Government does not rescind the recent decisions to increase the pump price of Premium Motor Spirit and electricity tariff in the country.
“The NGF chairman said no one who was conversant with the prevailing situation in the country would disagree with labour and its demands, as it were, but he pleaded that governors be given time to consult more broadly with the various stakeholders, including the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Mr Boss Mustapha, the Vice-President and the President. This he said would be top priority for the NGF and promised to head straight to the presidency once the meeting was over.”
Bello-Barkindo explained that Fayemi spoke for the NGF while the NLC President, Ayuba Wabba, who was accompanied by the TUC President, Quadri Olaleye, and the NLC General Secretary, Emmanuel Ugboajah, spoke on behalf of organised labour. The Director General of the NGF, Mr Asishana Okauru, was also at the meeting.
Fayemi explained that governors decided to wade into the ongoing negotiations with a view to broadening consultations and assisting to bring the impasse to an end, thus averting the impending strike action.
He pleaded with the NLC that the timing of the action could aggravate an already worsening situation if not averted, adding the issues were not irreconcilable.
The NGF chairman emphasised that the plight of workers in the country was already unbearable and that any action embarked upon by the union at this time would worsen their situation as was highlighted in the communiqué issued by governors after their first emergency meeting on Thursday.
The NLC President was quoted as saying the Federal Government violated the time-tested global process of dialogue as he thanked the NGF chairman for his efforts, saying, “When the cost of PMS rises, the cost of everything in the country rises with it. I praise you for showing a good grasp of this matter and I believe that if they had widened the mechanism for consultation and involved people like you, we wouldn’t have come to this path.
The NGF chairman said, “Our President who is always on the side of workers will not be averse to the issues being raised and I’m hopeful for an amicable settlement on the issues highlighted.”
Reps move to avert labour strike
The Speaker, House of Representatives, Mr Femi Gbajabiamila, is also set to wade into the planned strike by the labour unions.
According to a notice sent to journalists on Saturday night, the Speaker would meet with leaders of the major labour unions on Sunday (today).
You must be at work from Monday, FG tells workers
The Federal Government has warned all federal civil servants on Salary Grade Level 12 and above as well as those on essential services to be at work from Monday despite the industrial action declared by labour unions.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, only civil servants on SGL 12 and above as well as those on essential services are working while others are advised to work from home.
The Head of the Civil Service of the Federation, Folasade Yemi-Esan, in a circular dated September 25, 2020 asked those civil servants still working to shun the industrial action. The circular which was addressed to all ministers, permanent secretaries as well as heads of government’s agencies and parastatals was titled, ‘The Nigerian labour unions planned industrial action.’
It read, “Sequel to the call by the labour unions for workers to embark on industrial action from Monday, September 28, 2020, the Office of the Head of Civil Service of the Federation wishes to inform all public servants that the Federal Government team is currently engaging with the labour unions with a view to resolving all contentious issues and avert the planned industrial action.
“Furthermore, it is important to note that there is a court injunction granted by the National Industrial Court (Suit No. NICN/ABJ/253/2020) on September 24, 2020 restraining the Nigeria Labour Congress and Trade Union Congress of Nigeria from embarking on any tom of industrial action pending the hearing and determination of a motion on notice.
“Accordingly, all officers on Grade Level 12 and above and those on essential services are hereby strongly advised to be at work to perform their official duties.”