The Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) has explained why they shunned the meeting with the Federal Government over increasing hardship and suffering across the country caused by the removal of fuel subsidy.
Bellnews recalls that the NLC had refused to attend a last-minute reconciliatory meeting with FG before embarking on its two-day warning strike.
Speaking on the reason for shunning the meeting, sources in the NLC leadership told reporters that the Minister of Labour and Employment, Simon Lalong had held a media briefing where he allegedly castigated labour leaders.
This reportedly forced the NLC leaders to shun the meeting that would have been held at the Federal Ministry of Labour and Employment, Federal Secretariat.
The minister was said to have threatened the NLC leaders at his briefing, foreclosing any chance that NLC would honour the meeting.
One of the visibly angry NLC leaders told the aforementioned publication that they had to shun the meeting so as to avoid possible arrest.
His words: “We were scheduled to meet the Minister of Labour and Employment later today (yesterday), precisely by 3 pm but a few hours to the meeting, the minister called a media briefing where he castigated us and threatened us among other uncomplimentary words.
“Not that the meeting would have stopped the strike, but we intended to attend the meeting in the spirit of social dialogue. But as you are aware, the Minister of Labour, before the scheduled meeting, held a media briefing castigating and threatening us.
“You do not expect us to attend a meeting when we had been warned of a possible arrest.
“In fact, we thank the minister for putting us on notice of their plan. So, the right thing to do is to keep away from such meetings and avoid any possible arrest.
“What the minister had done was nothing short of industrial dictatorship and naked blackmail. The Federal Government had already taken decision on the proposed meeting, the minister was kind enough to hold a briefing ahead of the meeting to disclose part of the government’s decision.
‘’Well, like I said earlier, the strike goes ahead as planned. After Wednesday, we will determine what next steps to follow. The NEC’s communiqué was loud enough. We cannot continue as if we are living in a different country from our political leaders and their cronies.
‘’You cannot continue to beat us and say we should not cry. Everywhere you go in every part of the country; people are complaining of hardship and suffering without concrete efforts by government to lessen our pains. Instead, the government is unleashing more policies to send us to untimely death.”