Strike: Niger Implores Labour to Return to Negotiation Table

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By Laleye Dipo

The Niger State Government has appealed to the organised labour to return to the negotiation table with a view to ending the industrial action which has now entered the third day.

The organised labour had called out its members to embark on an indefinite strike when talks between it and government were deadlocked over the state government’s decision to slash workers’ salaries for November.

The Commissioner for Finance, Alhaji Zakari Abubakar, said in Minna that government is seriously interested in bringing an end to the feud and will do everything humanly possible to bring an end to the impasse.

“It is a marriage. Government and labour are partners, government takes workers welfare seriously. We want whatever differences we have now to be speedily resolved in the interest of the marriage,” he said.

Abubakar said the situation the state has found itself is not a happy one, neither is it a happy time too for labour which is why both parties should reach a truce.

He said government has always shown sincerity in its dealing with workers from the voluntary increase in the pay of the workers to the full implementation of the N30,000 minimum wage and its consequential adjustments and regular payment of pensions and gratuities.

“We have shown our workers that we can be trusted; we cannot now change overnight,” he said.

The commissioner said to avoid a repeat of the present situation, the government has begun a total reform of its internally generated revenue (IGR) mechanism with the sole objective of boosting the income to make the state less dependent on money from the Federation Account Allocation Committee (FAAC).

“Our IGR is insufficient; we are reforming it,” the commissioner stated, adding that COVID-19 also had direct negative impact on the IGR.

Abubakar therefore appealed for understanding from labour, saying: “The circumstances that we find ourselves is unavoidable,” insisting that the situation is a temporary one that will soon be over and “differed money refunded”.

Meanwhile, a prayer session organised by the organised labour to seek spiritual intervention for the resolution of the dispute between it and government took place at the Labour House, Minna on Thursday.

The prayer session was shifted to the Labour House following the advice by the police that holding it at the eid prayer ground, the earlier scheduled venue, could have negative security implications for the state.