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Nigerian govt assures labour will not strike over naira scarcity



The Federal Government has assured Nigerians that the pending strike action by organised Labour scheduled for Wednesday over the scarcity of naira notes will not go on as positive negotiations are currently ongoing between the government and the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC).

Minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige, who gave the assurance at the weekly Ministerial Briefing organised by the Presidential Communication Team at the State House, Abuja on Tuesday, said the threat of protest by the NLC against the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has been arrested.

The NLC had last week, given the Federal Government a seven-day ultimatum to mandate the CBN and commercial banks to end the cash scarcity, with the warning of a nationwide protest and the picketing of the apex bank’s branches.

But at the Ministerial Press Briefing, Ngige said that he was confident that ongoing dialogues coordinated by his ministry between the CBN and Labour leaders have yielded positive fruits which will nip the proposed strike in the bud.

Speaking on the dialogues, the Minister said the issue has been discussed by the NLC in its National Executive Council meeting and the protest would no longer go ahead.

“Now they have all answered our calls because we are the Chief Conciliators. In my opening remark, I said I’ve noticed that there’s already a dialogue going on and there’s also implementation and the Nigerian Labour Congress agreed that there was some thawing at the surface of the icing that was there,” he said.

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“They said they will call up their National Executive Council meeting because the initial decision to give that ultimatum was given by this same Council.

“Members of the Council reside in the states and in the local governments so they will come up today, which is Tuesday, the 28th, to review the situation because much as it is, the important thing is that we have emphasised to them that we have apprehended this dispute.

“By Section 7:8 of Trade Dispute Act, once the Minister apprehends and starts conciliation on it, you maintain status quo ante bellum. So they have gone back now to review the situation.

“If they’re not satisfied with what they’re see, they will come back to me and I’ll invite the CBN again.

“But for now, the issue of discussion is no longer strike, the issue of discussion is implementation and how far it’s gone and how far it affects Nigerian workers and the general population.

“So that is it, the final decision will be done today by NEC and they will then do a resolution, of course, inform me and CBN what their resolution is. But like I said, we have apprehended and we are now conciliating,” the Minister said.

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