The meeting called by the Minister of Labour and Employment, Simon Lalong, to stop the organised labour from starting a two-day warning strike today was snubbed by the Nigeria Labour Congress yesterday.
The strike notice was issued by the NLC last Friday over the hardship caused by the removal of petrol subsidy.
The NLC President Joe Ajaero and General Secretary Emmanuel Ugboaja did not answer phone calls and text messages by Daily Trust to explain why they did not attend the meeting.
Only the leadership of the Trade Union Congress (TUC) led by its President Festus Osifo showed up at the meeting with government officials.
Osifo said before the meeting went into a closed-door session that the TUC leadership would continue to dialogue with the federal government to address its demands.
He said, “We’ve not seen anything done for federal workers in the palliatives that were rolled out. We need a wage award. The palliatives rolled out by the government are not enough. We believe that the government can do more.”
The TUC said in a communique released on Monday after its National Executive Council meeting held on Sunday that it welcomed some of the measures taken by the government to ease the effects of subsidy removal on workers.
It urged the government to increase the amount allocated for palliatives as the N5bn given to each state was “very inadequate.”
“It should be noted that palliatives do not solve the long term problems or hardship faced by the people, such long lasting programmes and initiatives should be developed that will properly address the sufferings of the people in the long term,” part of the communique read.
Lalong said the government agreed on a two-week timeline on wage award, tax exemptions and allowances to public sector workers to “ease the pains and anguish they are going through as a result of subsidy removal,” as proposed by the TUC.
The minister said: “We agreed that there should be no strike within the two week period while we’re doing our discussions and working towards achieving some of these objectives.”
Lalong had earlier appealed to the labour to ask all its affiliate unions to suspend their planned strike at a press briefing.
He said the government would not take workers for granted or fail to appreciate their support and understanding.
“We shall continue to pursue policies aimed at creating more jobs in all sectors of the economy as well as look into immediate challenges that have emerged from the policies of the government. We cannot do this in an atmosphere without industrial peace.”