The Nigeria Labour Congress(NLC) has insisted that the two-day warning strike begins on Tuesday, despite concerns by the Federal Government.

The strike is over the pains caused Nigerians by petrol subsidy removal and the call for the Federal Government to take urgent action to remedy the situation.

But the Federal Government says the strike is uncalled for, warning that the strike could erode gains recordedfor it’s course to securing a greater future for workers and citizens at large.

Labour also avoided a meeting scheduled on Monday with the Federal Government after what it termed threats of arrest by the Minister of Labour, Simon Lalong.

The leadership of the NLC accused Mr Lalong of making statements that negates the possibility of any fruitful deliberation during the meeting.

They accused the minister of dictatorship and threatening to arrest then and so they had no reason to attend such a meeting.

The President of NLC, Joe Ajaero on Friday after a National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting of the labour centre, announced a two-day warning strike.

The minister, however, appealed to the NLC  leadership to suspend the warning strike, noting that the new wage award will be ready in two weeks.

He promised that the Bola Tinubu-led administration would not take labour and Nigerian workers for granted.  

“It has become pertinent to appeal to the leadership of the  NLC to suspend its intended two-day warning strike, as such action would be detrimental to the gains already being recorded on our course to securing a greater future for Nigerian workers and citizens at large,” the minister said.

“Furthermore, I would request that the Comrade Leadership of the NLC  gives this government some time to settle and address the issues on the ground holistically.

“It should be realised that the cabinet of this administration was only recently sworn in by Mr. President and all cabinet members have hit the ground running. Therefore, the issues raised by the leadership of the NLC are some issues that I and the Hon. Minister of State for Labour and Employment (Nkeiruka Onyejeocha) are being briefed upon.

“I use this opportunity to reassure Nigerian workers that this government would never take them for granted nor fail to appreciate their support and understanding. We shall continue to pursue policies aimed at massive employment generation 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 devoid of industrial peace.”

Lalong told the participants that modalities for the implementation of  tax exemptions, wage award and allowances to public sector workers would be completed in two weeks

He added that the conditions for accessing the N70 billion intervention fund for  Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises were being fine-tuned by the government. 

“We are going to address those issues within the period of two weeks and come back for further discussion. Some of the issues we discussed are those that are very urgent. There are some that will require a long span of time. This was the basis of our discussion,” he said.

“We agreed that there should be no strike within the two-week period while we are doing our deliberations and working towards realising some of these objectives.”

Meanwhile, the Trade Union Congress(TUC) has called for urgent steps to cushion the effects of the subsidy removal.

After a meeting of the union on Sunday, the TUC President, Festus Osifo, said that urgent issues like the “implementation of palliatives; wage award; tax exemptions and allowances to public sector workers and modalities for the  SMEs intervention fund;   among others were discussed.”

“In the palliatives that were rolled out we have not seen anything put in place for federal workers,” he noted.

“We need a wage award. The palliatives rolled out by the government are not far-reaching. We believe that the government can do much more.”

In the communiqué after its meeting, the  TUC hailed some of the steps taken by the government to cushion the effects of subsidy removal.

But it  urged the government to increase the amount provided for palliatives as the N5 billion given to each state was “grossly inadequate.”

The TUC also advised the government to deploy high-powered monitoring teams “to ensure that the palliatives get to the right people.

“We urge the government to do the needful to avoid a situation where the TUC, its affiliates and allies would be compelled to confront the government,” the congress added.

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