The Minister of Labour and Employment, Senator Chris Ngige on Wednesday waded into the ongoing face-off between the Kaduna State government and labour unions by inviting both parties to a reconciliation meeting.
The meeting is scheduled to hold by 11 am on Thursday, May 20, 2021, at the office of the Minister of Labour and Employment, Federal Secretariat, Abuja.
Those invited for the meeting include the Governor of Kaduna State, Nasir El Rufai and top officials of the State; as well as the President of the Nigeria Labour Congress, Ayuba Wabba and top NLC leaders to an emergency conciliation meeting.
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This was disclosed by the Charles Akpan, the Deputy Director, Press and Public Relations of the Ministry of Labour and Employment.
The Minister further directed the two parties to maintain the status quo ante bellum pending the resolution of the issues in contention.
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 and 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 emphasized further, “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 Minister’s intervention comes three days after the NLC started a protest following the disengagement of over seven thousand civil servants at the state and local governments by the Kaduna State government.
The strike has paralysed critical sectors of the economy in the state and the state governor Nasir El-Rufai in reaction declared the NLC Chairman and other leaders wanted for economic sabotage and attacks on public infrastructure in Kaduna State under the Miscellaneous Offences Act.