The Federal Government insisted, yesterday, that it would not go into re-negotiation with Ayuba Wabba faction of Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC, unless the union calls off its ongoing nationwide strike.
This came as Speaker, House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, after an hour session with the leadership of the union, yesterday, appealed to the labour keaders to return to the negotiation table.
Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr. Chris Ngige, who stated this last night, said: “They have to call off their strike formally before any invitation by the chief conciliator, which is the pathway in such dialogues.”
However, after an hour closed door session with Dogara, the union agreed to resume negotiation with the Federal Government on the ongoing industrial action over deregulation of the down stream sector of the oil industry.
The agreement was reached at a mediatory meeting with the speaker, according to a statement issued by his spokesman, Mr. Turaki Hassan.
During the meeting, the speaker made passionate appeal to the labour leaders to consider national interest over and above all other interests.
The speaker urged the NLC to, in the interest of the nation, consider suspending or calling off the strike, while negotiations continued.
Responding, Comrade Wabba thanked the speaker for his interest in resolving the crisis and assured that they would report the discussions to the larger body of members.
Consequently, the NLC resolved to communicate the new development to the larger body, comprising all its affiliate unions because “we have absolute confidence in the leadership of the speaker.”
At a different meeting with Senate President, Bukola Saraki, he also expressed the union’s readiness to dialogue with the Federal Government to end the strike.
These came on a day workers in Abuja and Lagos for the second day running, shunned the strike as business continued as usual, although there was partial compliance in a few states across the country.
This was even as Head of Civil Service of the Federation, Mrs Winifred Oyo-Ita, appealed to Nigerians to be more patient with President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration.
Wabba, however, said there was no end in sight to the strike,vowing that the union would continue to mobilise workers to stay off their work places in protest against the hike.
Wabba, who spoke when he led executive members of his faction to a meeting with the Senate President, Bukola Saraki, regretted the ongoing strike but noted that it was necessitated by government’s painful action.