The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) has stated that the recent strikes were due to frustration over government’s failure to fulfill agreements made with workers.
NLC President Joe Ajaero expressed this view at the opening of reconciliation talks with the Minister of Labour and Employment Simon Lalong on Monday.
Ajaero decried that none of the palliative measures and demands agreed upon after the fuel subsidy removal have been implemented, despite the two-day warning strike already undertaken. He said workers do not take industrial action lightly but were compelled by the lack of progress on past agreements.
The NLC president specifically cited the police takeover of the National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW) headquarters and arrest of officials as an example of troubling anti-labour actions. He reiterated that unaddressed worker grievances necessitated the strikes, not an innate desire for disruption.
In his remarks, Minister Lalong acknowledged the valid concerns fuelling the crisis and the government’s duty to address them fairly. However, he appealed for realism given Nigeria’s current economic challenges. The minister called for open-minded dialogue to balance workers’ interests and national growth.
Lalong expressed optimism the engagement will yield resolutions in the best interest of both workers and the economy. But Ajaero remained skeptical, noting similar past meetings yielded no results. He insisted action on past agreements was overdue.
The talks highlight the impact of unresolved worker disputes on the economy through repeated strikes. The NLC maintains that government inaction on subsidies and other demands drove organised labour to take disruptive industrial action, underscoring the urgency of cementing a new agreement.