The Minister of State for Labour and Employment, Festus Keyamo, has provided an update on the federal government’s intervention to prevent another strike in Kaduna State.
The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) had on Tuesday said it would resume its suspended industrial action in the state, alleging a breach of the agreement it signed with the state government to end the action in May.
Although the union did not state the date the strike would resume, it said the state’s councils and affiliate unions had been directed to mobilise and officially communicate to all employers of labour in the state to “get ready.”
However, Mr Keyamo said the federal government is trying to ensure that the state government complies with the agreement signed with the union.
“I said, I discussed with the president of NLC yesterday night, and he was asking for this kind of intervention, to ensure that that agreement is respected,” the minister said at the weekly ministerial media chat at the State House Abuja, on Thursday.
“We have heard of the threats to resume the strike. We intervened at some points, we call both parties together. There was actually a memorandum of understanding with the Kaduna State Government, we are just conciliators.
He also explained that the ministry’s team are conciliators, not the disputants.
“So don’t think the Ministry of Labour is actually the disputants every time you see strike, it doesn’t mean we are quarreling with everybody.
“When the doctors are on strike, the disputants were the Ministry of Health and doctors, we called both parties fighting together to our office to say, ‘what is the problem let us hear you’. When you hear teachers on strike and lecturers, it is the Ministry of Education and the teachers that are the disputants. And so we’re hardly disputing with anybody as Ministry of Labour.”
Both the Kaduna State Government and NLC have been on a warpath following the decision of Governor Nasir El-Rufai to lay off civil servants.
The governor claimed the wage bill was gulping too much of the state’s revenue.
It was earlier reported how the NLC in protest of the government’s decision, embarked on a five-day warning strike on May 18, paralysing business activities in the state.
The state government, in its reaction, threatened to lay off the protesting workers and not to back down from the planned mass disengagement of civil servants.
But following the intervention of the federal government, the NLC suspended the strike after two days and went into negotiation with the government to resolve the matter.