The federal government has said that the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) erred in its threat of an industrial action following the increment of fuel pump price.
The government said this was why it had to seek a court action to stop the organised labour from going on strike and urged them to return to the negotiating table in order to resolve the industrial crisis.
In a statement personally signed by minister of labour and employment, Chris Ngige, the minister said the federal government’s negotiating team was ready to recommence negotiation with the NLC led by Comrade Ayuba Waba any time, in compliance with the directive of the National Industrial Court for both parties to further explore Alternative Dispute Resolution mechanism (ADR).
“The federal government went to court to seek an injunction restraining labour from embarking on strike because there is a clear process of declaring labour strike under the law. It is therefore the view of government that those processes were not complied with before the NLC called the strike,” he said.
Ngige, while responding to some issues raised by Comrade Ayuba Wabba after he led the NLC to withdraw from the negotiation with the government, insisted that series of meetings and consultations were held between the federal government, through the minister of state for Petroleum, the Office of the Vice President, the minister of labour and employment and organised labour unions.
He said, “It bears putting on record that on the 4th of May, 2016 while discussing the template put forward by the minister of state, petroleum, the NLC, TUC, NUPENG, PENGASSAN and other major stakeholders even advised that the NNPC pricing should be same with that of the Independent Petroleum Marketing Companies at N140 per litre.
“There was another meeting on May 11, 2016 where governors, National Assembly leadership and some ministers were in attendance, with NLC, TUC, PENGASSAN and NUPENG promising to take the decision of the meeting to their respective organs for further necessary actions.
“It was, therefore, surprising that the NLC, at the maiden meeting, put forward the issue of non-consultation as a major non-compliance issue on the part of the government but was outrightly debunked by the NNPC and Ministry of Petroleum.”
He explained that the federal government was fully committed to the quick implementation of the palliatives in the 2016 budget, while developing other ways to alleviate the sufferings of Nigerians.
Ngige advised the NLC to return to the negotiation table, saying that strikes will neither increase government earnings nor repair the nation’s ailing refineries, but will rather lower productivity and further damage the limping economy.