In a swift move to avert the threat of indefinite strike by the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC), Minister of Labour and Productivity, Hon Simon Lalong, on Wednesday briefed Vice President Kashim Shettima about his discussions with the organised labour centre.
Briefing newsmen after the meeting with the Vice President in the company of Minister of State for Labour, Hon Nkiruka Onyejeocha at the State House, Abuja, Lalong gave the assurance of smooth, harmonious negotiation with the Unions..
Asked if there was any hope for the government to avert the impending strike, the Minister said “No,no, no! As for me I don’t think there is any problem. We have fully spent time with the Nigerian labour and the posture of the President too is towards welfare and prosperity for workers. We have no doubt and that’s why many of the meetings we have with them we are not ending up boxing ourselves, we were smiling all.of is. We hope that the best is going to come.”
On what specifically the federal government was doing to arrest the strike scheduled to commence Thursday, Lalong said “Don’t worry about that. That’s why I said it’s a friendly engagement we are doing with them. We don’t have any fears about some of the things they put and also the suggestions and the package of the federal government”.
He, however, could not confirm whether the strike would still hold today or not asking newsmen to direct the question to the NLC President.
His words: “I don’t want to say that; I’m not the NLC President”.
Also responding to questions from newsmen after meeting with the Vice President, the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Senator George Akume, asserted that a nationwide strike at this time would not be in the interest of anyone.
This is coming just as he disclosed that the October 1, 2023 Independence celebration would be low key.
Commenting on the threat of nationwide strike by the NLC, Akume said “Labour leaders are very patriotic Nigerians and we want to believe correctly that nobody will want to cause a strike. It’s not in the interest of the workers; it’s not in the interest of anybody because this go ernment is very determined to ensure that the standard of living of Nigerians to create prosperity for. all. It’s not something that can be done overnight. This government came into being on the 29th of May and we have a tenure of four years. So it will be inappropriate for we to begin to judge on the basis of few months we ha e spent in the office.”
On what would differentiate this year’s independence anniversary from those in the past, the SGF said “This is going to be low key; we are not going on fantastic jamboree at the Eagle Square and other locations. It’s a time for reflections; it’s a time for all of us to think very deeply as a people and the journey forward and this journey is being charted by the captain of the ship.”
Deji Elumoye in Abuja