The meeting between the organised labour and the federal government representatives at the State House, Abuja, on the removal of subsidy on fuel ended in a stalemate as no agreement was reached.
The meeting at the Conference Hall of the Chief of Staff to the President came after the announcement by President Bola Ahmed Tinubu that subsidy on fuel had gone and new prices of the Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) introduced by NNPCL.
The organised labour was led by the President of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Comrade Joe Ajaero and his counterpart for the Trade Union Congress (TUC), Comrade Festus Osifo.
The former President of NLC and immediate past governor of Edo State, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, the Permanent Secretary, State House, Tijjani Umar, the Head of Service of the Federation, Dr. Folashade Yemi-Esan, the Group Chief Executive Officer, of the NNPCL, Mele Kyari, and a Director in the defunct Tinubu/Shettima Campaign Organization, Dele Alake, among others attended the meeting.
Speaking after the stalemated meeting, Ajaero and Osifo stressed that status quo be maintained on the prices of PMS while negotiations continued.
Both labour leaders said another meeting would hold after discussions with members of their executives on the outcomes of Wednesday’s interaction with federal government team.
Ajaero said there was no consensus after the meeting, adding that “As far as labour is concerned, we didn’t have a consensus in this meeting.”
He picked holes in the decision of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation Limited to review the petrol pump price in its filling stations nationwide before the meeting, stating that the price increase put the labour unions in a difficult position during negotiations.
“That’s the principle of negotiation. You don’t put the partner, ask them to negotiate under gunpoint.
“The prayers of the NLC is that we go back to statusquo, negotiate, think of alternatives and all the effects and how to manage the effects this action is going to have on the people. If it is an action that must take off.
“The subsidy provision has been made up to the end of June. And before then, conscious people, labour management, government should be able to think of what will happen at the end of June. You don’t start it before the time,” Ajaero said.
Speaking on the outcome of the meeting from the side of government, Alake said talks on solutions to all issues at hand would continue.
He said: “We have been deliberating on finding very amicable solutions to the issue at hand, to the queue and all of that and the increase in pump price.
“We had a very robust engagement. We cross-fertilized ideas, ideas flew from all sides and there is one thing that is remarkable even from the Labour side, and that is Nigeria. We are all looking at the peace, progress and stability of Nigeria. That is what is paramount.
“Of course, the NNPCL CEO is here, Mr Kyari, we cannot go into details now because the talks are still ongoing. We cannot finish everything at one setting, so, we have adjourned now, we are continuing the talks at a later date very shortly.
“But the point is that the talks are ongoing and it always better for all sides to keep talking with a view to arriving at a very amicable resolution that will be in the longer term interest for all Nigerians. That is as much as we can say now.”