The planned meeting between the federal government and organized labor regarding fuel subsidy palliatives was disrupted on Friday. Representatives from the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and the Trade Union Congress (TUC) left the meeting venue at the State House, Abuja. The President of NLC, Joe Ajaero, led his delegation to the Chief of Staff’s office for the meeting, but they departed almost immediately.
The Presidential Steering Committee on Subsidy Palliatives had convened earlier in the week, where both parties agreed to reconvene on Friday to receive updates from three subcommittees responsible for addressing various demands. The purpose of the Steering Committee was to devise measures to mitigate the impact of fuel subsidy removal on workers. However, the meeting could not proceed because government officials required for the quorum were absent, according to some members of the Steering Committee.
The labor union accused the government of using the meetings as a pretext to deceive the public. They claimed that important government officials, who were members of the subcommittees, were not present at the meeting. This lack of preparation and quorum led to the meeting being unable to progress.
It was reported that the Chief of Staff to the President, Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila, and other government team members were present initially but had to attend to other official matters after waiting for the labor delegation, which faced delays at the State House entrance gate due to clearance issues.
This disrupted meeting would have been the fourth in a series since the implementation of petroleum subsidy removal, specifically addressing the initial increase in the pump price of petroleum to N520 per liter. As the government representatives were unable to persuade the labor leaders to suspend their plan for nationwide protests on August 2, the protests are still set to proceed.
In summary, the scheduled meeting between the federal government and organized labor over fuel subsidy palliatives was derailed as officials from the NLC and TUC left the venue due to the absence of key government representatives and the lack of quorum. The labor union accused the government of insincerity and intends to proceed with their planned protests.