The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) has issued an ultimatum to the federal government, demanding that its grievances be addressed by Friday, or the nation may face another round of industrial unrest. This ultimatum was given during a meeting between the Ministry of Labour and Employment and the NLC. The labor movement emphasized that it had already provided ample time for the government to address its concerns.
Some of the key demands put forth by the NLC include wage increases, tax exemptions, and allowances for public sector workers, reducing the cost of governance, providing Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) buses, releasing modalities for N70 billion for Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs), releasing detained officials of the National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW), and ending the occupation of Police-backed interlopers.
The President of the NLC, Joe Ajaero, pointed out that the 21-day ultimatum, issued on September 1, 2023, would expire on Friday, September 22. Ajaero stressed the urgency of the government meeting the union’s demands and highlighted the NURTW issue, which falls under the purview of the Federal Ministry of Labour and Employment.
During a closed-door meeting, Minister of Labour Simon Lalong requested more time to address the NLC’s concerns. However, Ajaero responded by stating that the NLC had already given the government ample time and could not accept further delays. He urged the government to take action within the remaining days of the ultimatum and asserted that the NLC would not settle for vague promises.
Ajaero also expressed frustration over the lack of trust between the government and the NLC. He cited the removal of fuel subsidy as a contentious issue that led to the warning strike and emphasized the importance of addressing various concerns, including CNG availability, refinery operations, wage awards, and cash transfers.
Minister Simon Lalong reiterated the government’s commitment to addressing the NLC’s grievances in a just and equitable manner while considering the broader economic implications. He acknowledged the valid concerns raised by the NLC and expressed appreciation for their presence at the meeting, emphasizing the need for constructive dialogue to find lasting solutions.