The organised Labour in Nigeria has suspended its five days warning strike and protest in Kaduna State which began on Monday.
The Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC says the suspension is to honour the invitation of the Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr Chris Ngige who has waded into the dispute and invited both Union and the Kaduna State Governor, Nasir El-Rufai for dialogue in Abuja on Thursday.
A statement by the Deputy Director Press and Public Relations in the Ministry, Mr Charles Akpan, said; ”the Minister invited the two parties to the trade dispute, the Governor of Kaduna State, Mallam Nasir El Rufai and top officials of the State as well as the President of the Nigeria Labour Congress, Comrade Ayuba Wabba and top NLC leaders to an emergency conciliation meeting by 11 am on Thursday, May 20, 2021.”
The Minister further directed the two parties to maintain the status quo ante bellum pending the resolution of the issues in contention.
According to the statement, the letter separately addressed to both the Governor of Kaduna State and the President of the NLC reads in part; “Sequel to the strike prompted by the Nigeria Labour Congress(NLC) one of the federations of Trade Unions in Nigeria, and the subsequent withdrawal of work and services in almost all public sector establishments and institutions in Kaduna State, including but not limited to the essential services in electricity, water and health, which has consequently resulted in inflicted huge damage and loss to the economy and well-being and even loss of lives to the people of Kaduna State in the last three days.
“I am therefore constrained in the exercise of my powers as the Minister of Labour and Employment, under the Trade Disputes Act, CAP. T8, Laws of Federation of Nigeria (LFN) 2004; to invite you and your top officials to the emergency trade dispute conciliation meeting.”
The letter also stated that “between the transition period for the meeting, you are please requested to maintain the status quo ante bellum this dispute, so that the enabling climate for the resolution of the issues in dispute will not be hindered by the creation of new issues.”
The NLC and TUC on Monday, embarked on a five-day peaceful protest in Kaduna State to protest the mass sack of thousands of Civil servants by the Kaduna State Government.
On Wednesday, the Nigerian Government through the Minister of Labour and Employment Dr Chris Ngige said it has waded into the strike and picketing in Kaduna State, by the two Labour Centres, the Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC and the Trade Union Congress, TUC.
Dr Chris Ngige had also appealed to the Kaduna State Governor, Mallam Nasiru El Rufai, President of the Nigerian Labour Congress, Comrade Ayuba Wabba as well as President of the Trade Union Congress, Comrade Quadri Olaleye to immediately cease fire.
Dr Ngige explained that the Nigerian Government was not unaware of what was going on in Kaduna State, saying “it is a labour issue which has snowballed into a national strike and picketing by the two labour centres and affiliate unions.”
He called on the Kaduna State Governor not to escalate matters to such a level where it becomes uncontrollable while also calling on the leaders of the Labour Unions to step down action to make way for discussion.
This emergency meeting according to commentators is necessary to nip in the bud the stand-off between Labour and the Kaduna State government which is already turning violent.