A meeting called by the Federal Government to discuss, negotiate the subsidy removal and attendant hike in fuel pump prices across the country was on Sunday shunned by the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC).
Information Nigeria reports that the union insisted that it would not hold any dialogue with the government representatives unless a legitimate team was set up.
Meanwhile, as reported earlier, officials of the Trade Union Congress (TUC) attended the meeting which was a follow-up to the talks held with the NLC at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, last week, which ended in a deadlock.
The National Treasurer of the NLC, Hakeem Ambali, confirmed the decision of the union to boycott the meeting which was a follow-up to the Wednesday meeting on the removal of subsidy.
During the meeting attended by the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Godwin Emefiele; Managing Director, Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation Limited, Mele Kyari; Dele Alake and others, the NLC had insisted on the reversal of the fuel pump price pegged at between N488 and N540.
Following the breakdown of talks, the Union resolved at its meeting held on Friday to embark on a nationwide strike.
Ambali, in a chat with Punch on Sunday, explained that like the TUC, the NLC was invited for a follow-up meeting at the State House but the union did not attend the talks because the government representatives had no official mandate or authority to negotiate for the President.
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“It was an adjourned meeting, a follow-up to the last one. However, the NLC insisted that we would be ready to negotiate with a team that has legitimacy and official mandate to negotiate for President Tinubu,” he stated.
According to him, the National President of the Union, Joe Ajaero, contended that the meeting was of no consequence.
Ajaero, on his part, in an interview on Arise Television on Sunday, said “Of what use is today’s meeting? As of Tuesday night, I had a meeting with the president of the TUC and some other government officials. I told the NNPCL MD that any move to increase the pump price would be taken as war.
“They went ahead to announce. We told them to return to the status quo so that negotiations will continue but up till now, they have not done that. So what are we going to the meeting to do?
“We are not making any progress and this is because we are still at the same point. The issue of alternatives and subsidies are things we have discussed over time and our position has been made public but the government appears not to be interested in our position.”
Speaking on media reports about factions of the NLC opposed to the strike, Ajaero said, “On Friday, all affiliates of the NLC agreed that we should take the next line of action. We don’t have northern NLC or southern NLC. If any media house has proof, let them bring it forward.”