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Ajayi-Kadir: Nigeria Can’t Afford Labour Strike Right Now, Government Has To Bend Over Backwards For NLC

NLC President Ajaero has said the 21-day ultimatum would expire on Friday and hoped the government meets the union’s demands before then.

The Director General, Manufacturers Association of Nigeria, Segun Ajayi-Kadir says in respect to the lingering demands of the Nigeria Labour Congress, the government needs to bend backward to do the right thing to prevent the indefinite strike action.

The meeting between the federal government and the NLC to avoid an imminent strike action ended on Monday, without a concrete resolution to the union’s demands.

The NLC President, Joe Ajaero pointed out that the 21-day ultimatum would expire on Friday and hoped the government met the union’s demands before then, to avoid the indefinite strike action.

Ajayi-Kadir said “Everything now appears to be in the hands of the government and the labour has always demonstrated that they are willing and ready to have conversation with government and if government has challenges why it cannot fulfill those promises, I believe labour has shown enough maturity and would be able to understand what situation government has found itself.

Mr. President said it himself that he asked for the job and so he needs to get the job done and there should be no excuse. Manufacturing is bleeding with companies like GSK pulling out. The Government needs to bend over backward and do the right thing.

“This is very worrisome and my hope if not prayer is that it should not happen because the economy can not afford any strike talk more of an indefinite strike. Coming from where we are since the beginning of the year, the economy has witnessed unprecedented hiccups, naira transition, floating of exchange rates, we have also had the issue of subsidy removal, all of these have constrained economic performance and so adding a strike is not good for anyone, especially the manufacturing sector because for more than thirty years, we have not experienced this level of consumer apathy that we are seeing. The average Nigerian disposable income has drastically dwindled.

“We elected this government and we will have to make a demand on the government to ensure that this time around they reach an amicable settlement with labour. This is not a time for strike at all.

“There is tension all over and even if this strike should go on, there is a possibility that it can escalate and degenerate into social unrest. Government has to manage the process well in such a way that even the security of the country, apart from the economy, is taken into cognizance.

Also, reacting to the government’s plea for more time to address grievances of the labour movement, the MAN boss said the government should not just ask for time but also accompany their plea with concrete steps that would be followed.

“I’m a bit worried about asking for time. 4 Months have passed and I think that asking for time should be accompanied with concrete steps it would take and set timelines that would be followed.

“Government has a full mercenary to ensure that coordinated steps are given to resolve the issue. the communication should not just be on asking for time but what would be done within that time.” he said

Chioma Kalu

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