NLC Will Continue To Negotiate With Government – Ayuba Wabba

NLC, Ayuba WabbaThe Chairman of the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC), Mr Ayuba Wabba, says the NLC will continue to negotiate with the Federal Government over its opposition to the hike in the pump price of petrol.

Speaking on Channels Television’s Sunrise Daily on Monday, Mr Wabba noted that the tradition of the NLC is to continue to dialogue on issues that it is passionate about, especially the increase in electricity tariff and pump price of petrol.

The labour union, had on Sunday evening suspended an industrial action it called on Wednesday, May 18 to resist the new price of petrol.

This was after an emergency meeting of its organs – the National Working Committee and the National Executive Committee, where talks were focused on the strike and the way forward.

There were reports that the suspension of the strike was one of the conditions the Federal Government had given for it to resume negotiations with the NLC but Mr Wabba reiterated that the strike was suspended due to the intervention of well-meaning Nigerians including the national leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Senator Bola Tinubu and the National Assembly.

He did not give an assurance that all matters would be resolved, but promised that the union would indeed resume negotiations with the government, adding that they would remain consistent in their demands.

“We will go there with open mind to discuss those issues. In the discussion process, we will try to advance a lot of reasons why we think that it should not be only this issue of importation; we can also look at other policy options which we are going to come to the table with,” he said.

Mr Wabba also explained the rationale behind the decision of the labour union to embark on the strike and which they would continue to press for.

“Our standpoint is clear and unambiguous, we believe that it is not sustainable and it will be at a very high cost to continue to over-rely on importation of this product that God has blessed Nigeria with.

“As far back as 2011, we had a documented written agreement with government where they requested for a full-year monitoring period within which to ensure that the issue of importing products will be addressed.

“But here we are, many years down the line we are still at the same point. So, we thought that as NLC we must continue to be consistent and that is the process that actually drove the process of engagement of the NEC and the decision that was taken.”

Mr Wabba stated that as the union resumes negotiations with the government, they would be demanding for a timeline for which the new price hike would be in place as they believe the policy is not sustainable because it is dependent on factors like the foreign exchange rate which is beyond Nigeria’s control.

“We must also agree, like we did in 2011 – documented. When do we think we can be able to move into the next phase of fixing our refineries and also addressing the issue of bunkering and sabotage going on?

“We have realised that what is going on in the oil and gas sector, where most of our facilities are vandalized is because of the fact that it is cheaper and easier and you make quick money when you import and dispose of it.

“Therefore, it is like an incentive to those people that it is cheaper and easier to import product instead of working towards (rebuilding) the refineries,” he said.

Labour Minister Welcomes Suspension Of Strike By Wabba-Led NLC

Chris Ngige, Labour Minister, NLC StrikeThe Minister of Labour and Employment, Senator Chris Ngige, has described the decision of the Wabba-led faction of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) to suspend its strike as a welcome development.

In a statement by his ministry’s spokesman, Samuel Olowookere, Senator Ngige reassured the labour union that the government was ready to continue the negotiation.

“I wish to assure them that they are fully welcome back to the negotiating table to continue from where we stopped,” he said.

The Wabba faction of the NLC suspended the industrial action called on May 18  to resist the new petrol price of 145 Naira.

The leader of the union announced the suspension on Sunday.

It came after an emergency meeting of its organs – the National Working Committee and the National Executive Committee.

At the meeting, talks were focused on the strike and the way forward.

Mr Wabba said the strike was suspended due to the intervention of well-meaning Nigerians including the national leader of the All Progressives Congress, Senator Bola Tinubu.

 

Labour Leaders Need Negotiation Training, Varsity Union Says

Fuel Price, NLC Strike, Abia, Anambra, NLCThe Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities (SSANU) has emphasised the need for labour leaders to get necessary training in modern method of negotiation.

The union’s statement is coming amidst controversies surrounding the industrial action called by the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) to kick against an increase in the price of Premium Motor Spirit, also referred to as petrol, by the Federal Government on May 11.

The government had increase the price of petrol by 67.6 per cent from 86.50 Naira to 145 Naira, a development that the labour union said it would resist.

Negotiations between the NLC and the Federal Government yielded no result, as the NLC had a divided leadership, which had weakened its strength.

Support For Ongoing Strike

At the opening ceremony of its capacity building held at Michael Imoudu Centre for Labour Studies in Ilorin for members of the union, the leadership of the union said proper training in negotiation would enable labour leaders achieve good result for their members.

The union also expressed its support for the ongoing strike against the petrol price increase, calling on the Federal Government to lay out its plan for permanent solution to fuel crisis.

In his speech, the Deputy National President of the Union, Moses Adeniyi, pointed out that the workshop was meant to sharpen the skills of the members in the modern method of labour issues and to mould them as better leaders.

The need for them to be refined and think logically while bargaining for their members, he added, should be given priority, saying it was another reason for the workshop.

In his paper presentation entitled, “Effective Communication and Interpersonal Skills”, Adekunle Tinuoye, from Michael Imoudu said simplicity, team work and motivation were some of the traits a good labour leader should possess.

Another speaker at the occasion, Ezekiel Ayorinde, in his paper entitled, “Collective Bargaining and Negotiation Skills”, described bargaining as the major tool to be used by labour leaders.

Strengthening of the labour unions he said would go a long way in achieving result for workers especially in the arrears of minimum wage, which the NLC was also asking the government to increase from 18,000 Naira to 56,000 Naira.

NLC Strike: Our Group Is Not Being Used – Ajaero

AJaero, NLC StrikeThe factional leader of the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC), Mr Joe Ajaero, has dismissed the allegation that his faction of the union is being used to divide the NLC in order for government to have its way on the new petrol pump price.

Speaking on Channels Television’s Sunrise Daily on Thursday, Mr Ajaero critized the manner in which the Waba-led faction of the NLC has gone about the dialogue with the federal government over the issue.

He condemned the Waba group for making decisions affecting affiliate unions without consulting the leadership of those unions.

He added that the petroleum workers belong to his group of the NLC and were key players in the issue being debated, and would not have their interests misrepresented.

He admitted that the increase in petrol price was high at 145 Naira but there were different schools of thought, which includes the demand for palliatives, while some felt the President by his credibility deserved some trust.

 

Divided House

Mr Ajaero affirmed that the two factions of the NLC have been in existence since the 2015 election of the Nigeria Labour Congress. Although there have been efforts to reconcile them but these have not been successful.

He said that the decision of the government to negotiate with both factions of the union must have been because the issues at stake required that all stakeholders be involved.

He explained further, “The federal government realised that the issue at stake was petroleum and NUPENG made it clear that the other group cannot represent their interest, this is the NLC they belong to and they sent the invitation across.

“We got there in the spirit of joint leadership and the other group said they were not going to talk. I think we were the ones who carried ourselves to the federal government to show our division.

“Ordinarily if we had a unified position and carried it to the federal government, they would stand by it.”

Kaduna Workers Defy NLC Strike Over Fuel Price Hike

Kaduna Workers, NLC Strike, Fuel PriceCivil servants in Kaduna State on Wednesday defied the order of the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) to stay at home in protest against the fuel price hike announced by the federal government.

The labour unions had issued a directive asking workers in both public and private sectors to shun their offices starting from Wednesday, May 18, 2016 in solidarity to the planned nationwide strike by the organized labour.

But rather than adhering to the directive, the workers resumed for duties in their various offices.

At the state secretariat complex along Independence Way, workers were seen in their offices as early as 7:30 in the morning.

Also, banks, schools, markets and other private establishments in the state capital opened  for normal business.

Those who spoke to our correspondent said that the strike is uncalled for. They called on the leadership of the NLC and TUC to amicably resolve all pending issues with Federal Government without embarking on a strike.

At the NLC state secretariat at Lafia road, only a handful of members were seen within the premises in their uniforms. The state chairman, Adamu Ango, was not available for comment, and none of the available was willing to speak to us.