The Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF) on Saturday urged the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and the Trade Union Congress (TUC) to shelve their planned industrial action and participate in broad consultations with the various stakeholders.
The governors made the call in a communiqué issued after dialogue between representatives of NGF and the labour unions at the Abuja residence of NGF Chairman, Gov. Kayode Fayemi of Ekiti.
The meeting was held to resolve the impasse, following the threat by labour unions to embark on industrial action if the Federal Government failed to rescind its decision to jerk up the pump price of petroleum products and electricity tariff.
Fayemi said that the governors decided to wade into the matter, with a view to broadening the consultations, facilitating the resolution of the crisis and averting the impending strike.
He stressed that the timing of the action of the labour unions 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 demands,” he said.
He, however, pleaded that the governors should be given time to consult more broadly with various stakeholders, including the President, the Vice-President and the Secretary to the Government of the Federation.
He said that the NGF considered the consultation a top priority, pledging saying that he would visit the Presidency immediately after the meeting.
Fayemi expressed the hope that the governors’ gesture would also motivate the leaders of the labour unions 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 the workers, will not be averse to the issues being raised and I am hopeful about an amicable settlement on the issues highlighted,” he said.
Also speaking, the NLC President, Ayuba Wabba, who commended the efforts of NGF to resolve the crisis, said the Federal Government had violated the “time-tested global process” of dialogue
Wabba noted that an increase in the cost of petrol would habitually provoke an increase in the people’s cost of living.
He lauded the governors for their understanding of the issues at stake.