The Minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige on Monday, summoned a meeting between the Nigeria Labour Congress, the Central Bank of Nigeria as well as the Nigeria Labour Congress.
The meeting which was held behind closed doors was summoned by the Minister to reach a compromise and possibly avert the proposed nationwide strike threats by the Nigeria Labour Congress.
The NLC had proposed a nationwide strike, which was billed to commence on Wednesday.
Beyond the strike threats, Labour was also mobilising its affiliate unions to picket all branches of the CBN nationwide.
The NLC president, Joe Ajaero had also expressed the displeasure of the Labour unions regarding the scarcity of fuel products and electricity tariff, warning that the majority of Nigerians were suffering untold hardship as a result of the naira swap policy.
A statement by Olajide Oshundun, Director, Press and Public Relations in the Ministry of Labour and Employment noted that the ten-man delegation of the NLC was led by the President, Joe Ajaero and the General Secretary, Emmanuel Ugboaja while the CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele was accompanied by two Deputy Governors, Kingsley Obiora (Economic Policy) and Ade Shonubi (Organised Private Sector).
Making his opening remarks, Ngige refuted the allegation of the NLC that his Ministry did nothing about the matter.
He said on receiving the letter from NLC, he forwarded the same to the CBN Governor before travelling out of the country for an International Labour Organisation Governing Board meeting and directed the Permanent Secretary and Trade Union Services and Industrial Relations Department to follow-up.
He maintained that his Ministry took the necessary step by sending the letter to CBN Governor who received the letter and assured that action would be taken.
On his own part, Emefiele said when he received the letter from the Labour Ministry, he called the President of NLC to brief him on steps taken to alleviate the sufferings of the masses and equally made appointments and had discussion with NLC president and had fruitful discussion which resulted.
He said a large volume of funds was made available to the deposit money banks and they were directed to open their branches on Saturdays and Sundays and they complied under strict supervision by the CBN.
According to Emefiele, following the steps taken Nigerians have been enjoying their money.
Earlier, Ajaero said they only got a reply to their second letter to the ministry and subsequently, an invitation to the meeting.
He said they no longer envisage any problem, since CBN has started sending cash to the banks and Nigerians were now accessing their money, he acknowledged that meetings have taken place in the spirit of good dialogue.
He, however, urged the CBN to improve on its services, regretting the information gap created in the implementation of the Naira Redesign.
He said: “NLC could not have stopped CBN from taking good decisions and implementing them in the interest of the nation. If stakeholders were invited and briefed on the policy, when the people complain, NLC would explain everything to them.
“But in this case, the CBN did it alone. Moreover, it is the wrong time for administering such a national policy.”
He assured that the National Executive Committee of NLC will meet today (Tuesday, March 28, 2023) where members from states and Local Government Areas are expected to report on availability of money, after which a decision will be taken on the strike.
The Minister however assured all that whether the NLC is embarking on dispute of right or dispute of interest, the dispute has been apprehended and can only result in more dialogue and not strike.