The Federal Government on Tuesday waded into the ongoing face-off between the Kaduna state government and labour unions.
The Nigerian Labour Congress and the Trade Union Congress have embarked on a five-day warning strike and protests in the state over the sack of over 7,000 government workers.
Meanwhile, the Kaduna state government has insisted that it does not have the financial wherewithal to pay the relieved workers.
On Tuesday, the state government declared labour union leaders wanted in the state for economic sabotage, saying the industrial action had affected key state infrastructure and services, including health and power.
And labour union leaders have accused the state government of actions tantamount to ‘abuse of powers’, including disrupting a peaceful protest with thugs.
According to a statement signed by the Deputy Director of Press and Public Relations at the Federal Ministry of Labour and Employment, both parties should “immediately ceasefire”.
“We are not unaware of what is going on in Kaduna State,” the Labour Minister, Chris Ngige, said, as quoted in the statement. “It is a labour issue which has snowballed into a national strike and picketing by the two labour centres and affiliate unions.
“We hope and also pray the Kaduna state Governor not to escalate matters to such a level where it becomes uncontrollable. We also appeal to the leaders of the labour centres to step down the action to make way for discussion.
“My Ministry is wading into the matter and therefore calls on the two warring parties to give peace a chance.”
The Minister also appealed to all workers on essential duties including doctors and nurses not to join the strike.
“Importantly, I appeal to workers in critical sectors not to tamper with electrical or water installations so as not to bring more sufferings to the people of Kaduna and the nation at large,” Ngige said.
“This is because we have it on good authority, following a complaint by the Minister of Power that workers have threatened to trigger a nation-wide blackout by interfering or switching off the national grid.”
Earlier on Tuesday, the Kaduna state government had ordered the sack of all nurses under level 14 for participating in the industrial action.