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Organised Labour suspends protest, reveals details of meeting with Tinubu
This will be the first time the President will be meeting with the labour leaders since he set up the Presidential Steering Committee on Palliatives in June, this year.
The Chief of Staff to the President, Hon Femi Gbajabiamila, had on five occasions in the last two months led the government team to discuss with Nigeria Labour Congress and Trade Union Congress (TUC) at the Conference room of his office at the State House, Abuja.
Commenting on Wednesday’s meeting with President Tinubu, NLC President, Joe Ajaero, told newsmen that the meeting discussed the protest which began nationwide on Wednesday with the Presudent making some commitments to the labour unions.
Ajaero who was in the company of his TUC counterpart, Festus Osifo, revealed that the president addressed the issues already presented in his national broadcast but delved into more details.
According to him, labour has decided to take back to their members, the issues the president presented at the meeting.
His words: “We met with him. The issues we discussed are the same issues that led to the protest today.
“He has expressed his position, made some commitments, which were taken side-by-side with what the Senate said, and we’re taking it back to the office with our colleagues to review it and release a document on our next line of action”.
Asked if what was presented was different from the content of the presidential broadcast on Monday evening, the NLC President said: “We have gone deeper into them. The broadcast has broader issues, but there are one or two things that need immediate attention.”
He emphasised that the protest will not be called off until the leadership of labour confers with its National Executive Council (NEC).
“No one person can call it off. That’s why I say we’ll have to go back to the office. So that they will look at it, the EXCO looks at it before they come up. And by tomorrow, the NLC will equally have their NEC meeting, to look at the bigger picture,” Ajaero said.
Asked further if the president requested them to call off the protest, the NLC boss declared: “the President is a pro-democracy activist. So, he understands protests.”
Osifo: Labour Has Called Off Protest, Ready To Give Government Benefit of the Doubt
The president of the Trade Union Congress, Festus Osifo, said Wednesday that President Bola Tinubu called for a meeting, and he was told frankly that “the committee that was proposed on the 19th of June had not made sufficient traction, and most of the input the Nigeria Labour Congress wanted has not come to pass.”
He further expressed that the NLC gave themselves an 8-week mandate that, from June 19th to August 19th, the entire issue would be dispensed with.
In an interview with ARISE NEWS on Wednesday, Osifo said they informed President Bola Tinubu that his broadcast was received but that the palliatives he offered were not far-reaching.
He said the timeline on some of those deliverables were not appealing because there is an urgent need for things to be done almost immediately. One of the things that can be almost immediately attended to is the issue of wages.
Osifo added that the issue of the non-functional refineries was brought up at the meeting with the president, and he assured them that by the end of the year, the refineries, at least the old Port Harcourt refinery, will become functional.
He complained that it was no longer the secretary to the government of the federation George Akume who was handling their negotiations but rather the chief of staff to the president Femi Gbajabiamila.
Making it clear, he said, “We don’t have any problem with the chief of staff personally, but we felt that the chief of staff is extremely busy, so the president should give us someone who will be ready and available so we can dispense with all these as soon as possible”.
The President of the TUC concluded the interview by saying that if the government does not hold up its end of the bargain, a series of meetings with all the Labour Union bodies will have to come together and conclude on the next line of action to push the government into action.
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