Strike: We’re open to negotiation – Wabba

Strike: We’re open to negotiation – Wabba

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The President of the Nigeria Labour Congress, Ayuba Wabba, in Abuja on Thursday said it was ready to negotiate with the Federal Government.

Wabba said this while briefing newsmen after a closed-door meeting between the leadership of the union and the President of the Senate, Dr. Abubakar Bukola Saraki.

He, however, said the strike would continue as the government had yet to reach out to the union for negotiation.

He said he did not walk out of any meeting with the Federal Government.

He added that the union had not received any formal invitation for a meeting with the government since they commenced the strike.

Wabba said: “The Senate leadership called us to brief them about what transpired and where we are now, which we have already done.

“In essence, what we did was to try to give a preview of the process we have followed to arrive at the stalemate.

“This is also to confirm because there has been media reports that we had been invited and we refused to attend meetings.

“We said no, we have not received any formal invitation for any meeting.

“The strike is still on but we are open to dialogue.”

The News Agency of Nigeria recalls that the Wabba-led faction of the NLC had embarked on industrial action since Wednesday due to the hike in fuel price from N86.50 to N145 per litre.

However, the Trade Union Congress and the Joe Ajaero-led NLC faction withdrew from the industrial action.

Saraki said NLC had shown commitment for dialogue, adding that the National Assembly will play its role in resolving the crisis.

NAN recalls that Senate on Wednesday directed its committee on Labour to mediate between the government and labour unions to resolve the differences.

Government, schools and banks remained closed on Thursday in Ilorin, the Kwara State capital, as the nationwide strike declared by NLC entered the second day.

Students did not go to school while offices and schools were closed.
The Chairman of NLC in the State, Yekini Agunbiade, led workers on a march to the state secretariat where they chased away few workers that had reported for work.

Agunbiade said the demonstration would continue as long as the strike lasted, adding that it was a way to show their dissatisfaction with the increase in price of petrol.

He said: “We are not fighting for minimum wage; we are fighting against electricity tariff and price of fuel, the hardship on the masses will be monumental if we did not resist now.”

Agunbiade called for the resignation of the Minister of State for Petroleum, Dr. Ibe Kachickwu.
According to the NLC chairman, there is no way a civil servant on N18,000 salary per month can cope with the hardship the increase in petrol price will inflict.

Some residents who spoke NAN expressed their support for the strike and called on the Federal Government to heed the call of the workers and go back to old prices.

An electrician at Sabo Oke, Mike Aberuagba, said the hardship the new petrol price will have on the masses was better imagined than experienced.

The Secretary of NULGE, Afolabi Abayomi, condemned those comparing prices of petrol in other African countries with that of Nigeria.

Abayomi, who said the minimum wage of N18,000 can only buy 124 litres of petrol, advised proponents of increase in fuel price to tell Nigerians minimum wages in those African countries.

He said many local governments in the state owed their workers up to five months salaries.
The NULGE scribe wondered how local government workers will survive the harsh economic situation occasioned by the increase in petrol price.
NAN.

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