The National Union Of Banks, Insurance and Financial Institutions Employees (NUBIFIE)announced on Monday that all banks will remain closed on Tuesday, September 5th, and Wednesday, September 6th, 2023.
In response, the Federal Government has called upon organized labor to reconsider their planned two-day warning strike set to begin nationwide on Tuesday.
The call for the suspension of the strike has arisen due to the imperative need to prevent a potential disruption of industrial harmony, which could undoubtedly undermine some of the progress achieved by the government.
In accordance with the NUBIFIE statement, this notice aligns with the resolution of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) to initiate a two-day strike action. This decision was reached during the National Executive Council meeting (NEC) held on Thursday, August 31, 2023.
In alignment with the official statement released following the gathering of the National Executive Council (NEC) of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) on Thursday, August 31, 2023, we call upon all affiliated organizations to instruct their respective members to initiate a two-day service interruption on Tuesday and Wednesday, September 5th and 6th, 2023.
This directive carries significant importance in drawing the government’s attention to its recent interference in the internal affairs of unions, rather than addressing the severe economic challenges that have enveloped our nation.
We hereby instruct all our organizational bodies to ensure strict compliance with this directive, urging all our members to abstain from work for the specified two-day period. It read
The General Secretary of the Union, Mohammed I Sheikh signed the statement.
However, in a last-minute bid to stave off the strike, the federal government fixed a peace meeting with the leadership of the two labour unions, NLC and TUC, in Abuja later Monday (today).
Addressing journalists in his office in Abuja on Monday on the impending two-day warning strike by members of the NLC and its affiliates, the Minister of Labour and Employment, Hon. Simon Bako Lalong, said
The government has taken proactive measures to mitigate the impact of removing fuel subsidies, which are currently being executed by all levels of government.
As we continue on this path, it remains imperative that we maintain transparent and robust channels of communication with every Nigerian, particularly with organized labor. This approach is crucial to avoid any disruptions to the smooth operation of industries, which might potentially undermine the progress we’ve made so far.
In light of these circumstances, it is of utmost importance to request the leadership of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) to reconsider their planned two-day warning strike. Such an action could have unfavorable consequences on the significant strides we have taken in our ongoing efforts to secure a brighter future for Nigerian workers and the entire population.
The Federal Government’s appeal came just as most of the affiliate unions of the NLC and civil society allies including the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), Academic Staff Union of Polytechnics (ASUP), Non Teaching Staff of Universities, National Union of Banks, Insurance and Financial Institutions Employees (NUBIFIE) have expressed their readiness to participate in the two-day warning strike.
Lalong said that ministers have just been sworn in by the new administration, adding that most of them were still receiving briefings from their various departments.
Therefore, the issues raised by the leadership of the NLC are some issues that I and the Hon. Minister of State for Labour and Employment are being briefed upon. In the next few weeks, we intend to address them holistically.
Consequently, I use this opportunity to reassure Nigerian workers that this government would never take them for granted nor fail to appreciate their support and understanding.
We shall continue to pursue policies aimed at massive employment generation in all sectors of the economy, as well as look into immediate challenges that have emerged out of the policies of government.
We cannot do this in an atmosphere devoid of industrial peace, he said.
The minister said he was yet to receive official communication of the NLC communiqué following its National Executive Council (NEC) meeting, as required by law.
Like many Nigerians, I and the Hon. Minister of State got the information from media sources. I believe my dear comrades will do the needful by following laid down processes for handling such matters since the cabinet is now in place unlike previously when there was no cabinet on ground,”he said.
On the progress so far made by the government to address the demands of labour, Lalong said the president has approved several measures to help cushion the effect of the fuel subsidy removal.
According to him, palliative measures are already being handled and implemented, beginning with the state and local governments.
You will recall that on the directive of Mr. President, the Federal Government dispatched trucks of rice and other grains to states for immediate distribution to most vulnerable citizens.
Furthermore, the National Economic Council, led by the vice-president, has sanctioned the allocation of N5 billion to all 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory for the procurement and distribution of additional relief measures and extended assistance programs.
Prior to this, the President issued directives to acquire compressed natural gas (CNG) powered buses and implement a policy to facilitate the conversion of gasoline-fueled vehicles to natural gas, aiming to alleviate transportation energy expenses,” he announced.
Lalong also assured that the ongoing dispute between the Nigeria Police and the leadership of the National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW) will receive prompt attention and resolution.
In light of the ongoing labor disputes in Imo and Abia States and their respective governmental bodies, Lalong earnestly urged both sides to initiate a meaningful and productive dialogue aimed at finding a mutually agreeable solution.
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