Governors of the 36 states of the federation under the auspices of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF) have again appealed to the labour unions to shelve the strike planned to start tomorrow.
They pleaded with the unions to give them time to consult more broadly with the various stakeholders, noting that no one that is conversant with the prevailing situation in the country would disagree with labour and its demands, as it were.
The meeting held yesterday morning at the at the residence of the Chairman of the NGF and governor of Ekiti State, Kayode Fayemi in Abuja, in a last minute attempt to get unions to shelve the strike.
In a communique released by the NGF secretariat, the governors said the purpose of the meeting was to resolve the impasse occasioned by the threat made by workers to embark on industrial action, if the Federal Government failed to rescind the recent decisions to increase the pump price of premium motor spirit (PMS) and electricity tariff in the country.
While Fayemi spoke for the Forum, the NLC President Comrade Ayuba Wabba who was accompanied by the TUC President Quadri Olaleye and the NLC General Secretary, Emmanuel Ugboajah, to the meeting, spoke for the workers. Also at the meeting was the Director General of the NGF, Mr Asishana Okauru.
The chairman explained that governors decided to wade into the ongoing negotiations with a view to broadening consultations and assist to bring the impasse to an end, and thus avert the impending strike.
He pleaded with the unions that the timing of the action was inauspicious and could aggravate an already worsening situation if not averted.
Fayemi emphasised that the plight of workers in the country was already in dire straits and that any action embarked upon by the union at this time would further worsen their situation.
Fayemi pleaded that governors be given time to consult more broadly with the various stakeholders, including President Muhammadu Buhari, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo and the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha, assuring that the issue would be top priority for the NGF and promised to meet with key stakeholders immediately.
He expressed hope that this gesture from the governors would also energise the leadership of labour to put a hold on their planned action.
On his part, the President of the NLC said the Federal Government violated the time-tested global process of dialogue and thanked the NGF chairman for his efforts at ensuring that sanity returns to the negotiation table.
“When the cost of PMS rises, the cost of everything in the country rises with it,” the Wabba explained.
He agreed with Fayemi and also praised him for agreeing to broaden the mechanism for consultation on the matter saying, “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 pass.”
Meanwhile, Kebbi State councils of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and Trade Union Congress (TUC) have affirmed the decision of their parent bodies to embark on national wide industrial action tomorrow.
In their resolution, the two labour groups stated that airport and road transport workers including motorcyclists as well as civil servants would stay off their duties until the Federal Government reverses prices of petrol and electricity tariff.
Confirming their resolution, Chairman of NLC in Kebbi State, Comrade Umar Halidu Alhassan, disclosed that they have confirmed the position of their respective national headquarters to embark on industrial action at their SEC meeting, held at the Labour House, Birnin Kebbi.
By Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye,