The Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF) has pleaded with the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) to shelve its planned strike and participate in broad consultation with various stakeholders.
The governors made the call in a communiqué issued after dialogue between representatives of the forum and union which took place in the Abuja residence of the Governors’ Forum Chairman and Governor Kayode Fayemi of Ekiti at the weekend.
The meeting was held to resolve the impasse occasioned by the threat by workers to embark on industrial action if the Federal Government did not rescind the decisions to increase the pump price of petroleum product and electricity tariff.
The meeting was attended by the NLC President, Ayuba Wabba; accompanied by the TUC President Quadri Olaleye and the NLC General Secretary, Emmanuel Ugboajah as well as the Director-General of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum, Asishana Okauru.
Fayemi said that the governors’ forum decided to join the ongoing negotiations with a view to broadening consultations and assisting to bring the impasse to an end, hence averting the impending strike.
He said that the timing of the action was inauspicious and could aggravate an already worsening situation if not averted.
“No one conversant with the prevailing situation in the country would disagree with labour and its ademands,” he said.
He, however, pleaded that the governors’ forum be given time to consult more broadly with the various stakeholders, including the secretary to the government of the federation, the vice president and the president.
He said that the consultation would be top priority for the governors’ forum, as he promised to immediately visit the presidency after the meeting.
Fayemi expressed hope that the gesture from the governors would also energise the leadership of labour to put a hold on their planned action.
“Government and labour are not that far apart in the negotiation and the differences are not irreconcilable.
“Our President who is always on the side of workers will not be averse to the issues being raised and I am hopeful for an amicable settlement on the issues highlighted,” Fayemi said.
On his part, the NLC President, Wabba, while commending the efforts by Fayemi at ensuring that sanity returns to the negotiation table, said the Federal Government violated the “time-tested global process” of dialogue.
Mr Wabba said that when the cost of PMS rises, the cost of everything in the country rises with it.
“I praise you for showing a good grasp of this matter. I believe that if they had widened the mechanism for consultation and involved people like you, we wouldn’t have come to this pass,” Wabba said. (NAN)