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Amid NASS Peace Attempt Labour To Proceed With Strike Today

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Amid last-minute efforts by the leadership of the National Assembly to stop the planned indefinite nationwide strike by the organised Labour, both Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and Trade Union Congress (TUC) insisted on proceeding with their strike action beginning from Monday.

The was taken after the move failed on Sunday night after four hours of deliberations.

The Labour Unions, however, said that given the intervention of the leadership of the National Assembly, they will report back to their members in order to take final decision on the strike action.

Briefing journalists after the meeting called by the leadership of the National Assembly, the President of the Senate, Godswill Akpabio, said tremendous appeal was made to the Labour leaders to call off the planned strike because of the negative implications of the action.

“After about four hours deliberation with leadership of the Organised Labour, we resolved that the Federal Government should re-introduce the wage award of N35,000 given to all categories of federal workers from October last year to February this year, pending the time the issue of minimum wage is resolved.

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“We have appealed to the organised labour to shelve the strike action because of the consequences and collateral damage involved.

“For example, we cannot at this time allow hospitals to be shut down to save the lives of those on emergencies or aided by oxygen to breathe.

“We are very much aware of all the steps taken by the Federal Government and Labour to agree on acceptable minimum wage and very much ready to join in the negotiation by reaching out to President Bola Tinubu.

“We believe that leadership of the organised labour after leaving here will reach out to their entire membership to call off the strike in the interest of all Nigerians,” Akpabio said.

For his part, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Tajudeen Abbas, said: “the take-home from the meeting were that the federal government would be prevailed upon to re-introduce the N35,000 wage award pending the time agreement on minimum wage is reached between it and the labour unions.

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“That leadership of both the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and Trade Union Congress (TUC ) should go and consult with their members on the need to quickly call off the strike in the interest of Nigeria and Nigerians.”

However, in his own submission after the meeting, the President of TUC, Comrade Festus Osifo, said though the leadership of the National Assembly has prevailed on them to call off the strike going by assurance given to step into the negotiation but the strike cannot be called off by them without consulting their various organs.

“It is difficult and infact impossible for us as labour leaders to call off the strike here. We need to communicate with our various organs, meaning that the industrial action starts on Monday as planned,” he declared.

But, the Minister of Information and National Orientation, Alhaji Mohammed Idris, expressed optimism that the labour will call off the strike as soon as possible based on appeal made to them by the leadership of the National Assembly.

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He said the Federal Government would continue to pay the N35,000 wage award to all categories of federal workers pending when the new minimum wage issue is resolved.

“Federal government is more than willing to pay its workforce living minimum wage but the N494,000 demanded for by labour is too high with attendant N9.5trillion additional financial burden.

“In as much the federal government wants to improve the welfare and wellbeing of her 1.2 million workers, it’s also very mindful of the welfare and wellbeing of the remaining 200 million people.

“Nigeria cannot afford strike action now. The leadership of the labour unions should please reason with government and appeal made to it by leaders of the National Assembly,” the Minister said.

The Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Senator George Akume; Minister of Finance, Wale Edun; Minister Budget and National Planning, Senator Atiku Bagudu; Minister of Power, Adebayo Adelabu, and the President NLC, Comrade Joe Ajaero, among others, attended the meeting.

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