Chris Ngige, minister of labour and employment, says the federal government has started a conciliatory move with the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) over the union’s threat to embark on an industrial strike.

The NLC had issued a seven-day ultimatum to the federal government to end the petrol and cash scarcity being experienced in the country.

Following the ultimatum’s expiration, the union directed public sector workers in the country to embark on strike. The strike is billed to commence on Wednesday.

TheCable had reported that the minister invited the NLC leadership and the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to a meeting on Monday to resolve the issue.

Speaking on Tuesday at the weekly ministerial briefing at the state house in Abuja, Ngige said there is an ongoing dialogue regarding the issue, adding that the government has “apprehended” the situation.

The minister also noted that the CBN has taken steps to address the naira scarcity situation.

He said the NLC’s national executive council will have a meeting today to “review the situation” and chart a way forward.

“They said they will call up their national executive council meeting because the initial decision to give that ultimatum was given by this same council,” Ngige said.

“Members of the council reside in the states and in the local governments so they will come up today, which is Tuesday, the 28th, to review the situation because much as it is, the important thing is that we have emphasised to them that we have apprehended this dispute.

“By section 7:8 of trade dispute act, once the minister apprehends and starts conciliation on it, you maintain status quo ante bellum. So they have gone back now to review the situation. If they’re not satisfied with what they see, they will come back to me and I will invite the CBN again.

“But for now, the issue of discussion is no longer strike, the issue of discussion is implementation and how far it is gone and how far it affects Nigerian workers and the general population.

“So that is it, the final decision will be done today by NEC and they will then do a resolution, of course, inform me and CBN what their resolution is. But like I said, we have apprehended and we are now conciliating.”

The Cable


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