Senator Iroegbu in Abuja
The amalgamated body of labour movements under the umbrella of the United Labour Congress of Nigeria (ULC) has announced the suspension of industrial action embarked upon by its affiliate body for one week to prepare grounds for further consultations and resolution of remaining issues on its demand list with the federal government.
The suspension of the strike was announced yesterday (Wednesday) in Abuja after brief meeting conveyed by the chief conciliator and Minister of Labour and Employment, Senator Chris Ngige in his office.
The ULC President, Joe Ajaero, said in the spirit of tripatism and negotiation, the union considered government’s appeal that the strike action be suspended for discussion till next week.
According to Ajaero, the union further considered the appeal by the Department of State Services (DSS) and decided to suspend the action and directed its members including petroleum tanker drivers who are members of the National Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG) to resume work.
He also expressed satisfaction that the minister in his opening address, adequately captured resolution reached during an elongated meeting on Tuesday, and the intervention by the Director General of DSS.
Ajaero said: “Having looked at these two factors, the ULC will be getting across to the field for the suspension of the action to enable further deliberation on the remaining issues next week”.
In the same vein, the National President of NUPENG, Igwe Achese, said the intention of the striking workers was not to aggravate the hardship of Nigerians but to drive home its demand of getting a better working condition for the Nigeria worker through dialogue.
He stressed that dialogue is the only way through which can be resolved
Achese appreciated the Labour Minister for giving the union attention and for creating an enabling environment for issues that affect the nation and its workforce to be resolved amicably.
He also expressed optimism that very soon the requests of ULC would be granted by the Ministry of Labour and Employment.
Also speaking, Ngige who expressed satisfaction with the outcome of the negotiation with ULC, a labour platform which he said has its application for registration pending with the ministry.
“Understanding was reached, grievances were tabled and tackled with stakeholders that include the representative of the Ministry of Power, Works and Housing,” he said.
Parts of the issues ironed out before the decision to suspend the strike was reached, he added, included the rehabilitation of roads leading to Mosinmi Depot, Port-Harcourt Refinery and the Apapa Tank Farm on which work has reached appreciable stages; privatisation of the Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN), demilitarisation of workforce.
Ngige further said the Tuesday meeting ended with an agreement to have an enlarged meeting on September 26, 2017, to address outstanding issues.
On the status of the ULC, the Minister said the labour movement which represents Nigerian workers has applied for registration with the ministry and the application is being looked into.
He said: “In labour parlance, ULC is a proposed association and some unions have indicated their interest to join it and in our capacity, the ministry is looking into their application. You don’t consider what is in a name or in a hood because the hood does not make a monk.”