The Nigeria Labour Congress has suspended the five-day warning strike it embarked to force the Kaduna Governor, Malam Nasir El-Rufai, to rescind his decision to sack more workers in the state.
The suspension became necessary in order to attend the meeting summoned by the Federal Government on Thursday.
The five-day warning strike entered its third day on Wednesday.
National President of the NLC, Ayuba Wabba, who confirmed the receipt of the invitation by the Minister of Labour, Chris Ngige, said, “We met and agreed we should honour the Federal Government’s invitation.”
Earlier in a move to stop the strike in Kaduna State from escalating, the Minister of Labour and Employment, Senator Chris Ngige on Wednesday invited El-Rufai and top officials of the state, as well as Wabba and top labour leaders to an emergency meeting.
A statement on Wednesday by the Deputy Director, Press and Public Relations, Ministry of Labour and Employment, Mr Charles Akpan, said the parley would hold by 11 am on Thursday, at the office of the Minister of labour and Employment, Federal Secretariat, Abuja.
The minister further directed that the two parties maintained the status quo pending the resolution of the issues in contention.
Ngige, in his separate letters to the two parties, said he was inviting them to an emergency meeting in exercise of his powers as the Minister of Labour and Employment.
The content of the letters read, “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.”
We’re dealing with a tyrant, Kaduna strike may be escalated, says Wabba
Also, Wabba described the union’s tussle with the Kaduna State government as a result of “crude abuse of power.”
This is just as thugs on Wednesday invaded the office of the state NLC in a bid to disrupt the ongoing five-day-warning strike to force El-Rufai to rescind his decision to sack workers in the state.
Wabba insisted that the state government’s decision to sack workers was against Section 20 of the Labour Act, saying that workers must not be treated like slaves.
He spoke on Wednesday while featuring on a current affairs programme, Sunrise Daily, on Channels Television.
Wabba said, “The issue we are currently engaging in Kaduna is about the fundamental right of a worker. A worker is not a slave and these laws are very explicit. I think they need to tell us if they have not thrown out 7,000 workers out of job.
“Has the provision of the law particularly Section 20 of the Labour Act respected? The obvious answer is no. Can any Nigerians, not even trade unions, fold our arms to watch a situation where breadwinners of families in their thousands are disengaged?
“What is happening is crude abuse of power. Every Nigerian now knows what we are canvassing, it is not new and that is why we said this action is going to be limited to Kaduna for five days.
“We are still here until the last day but where it fails, we are going to escalate it. How can a state celebrate sack of workers? Is it the only state with economic challenge? When Kano State wanted to renege on the N30,000 minimum wage, immediately we wrote a letter, they requested for dialogue.”
“We went to Rivers State, we had a meeting that was concluded in the midnight and we made pronouncements. What is the difference?
“The difference is that we are dealing with a tyrant. They have hired about 50 trucks of thugs to invade the NLC state office where our people are converging.
Meanwhile, thugs on Wednesday invaded the premises of the NLC in Kaduna.
It was learnt that the thugs, numbering about 100, stormed the secretariat along the Race Course Road, Ungwan-Rimi with weapons, but the police repelled the hoodlums.
The state Police Public Relations Officer, Mohammed Jalige said the police guarding the NLC Secretariat were able to repel the hoodlums.
He said, “We have been able to arrest some of them and investigation is ongoing to that effect.”
However, the NLC president went ahead to lead the Wednesday rally which entered the third day amidst tight security.
Minister fumes over alleged death of baby
Also, the Minister of Women Affairs, Pauline Tallen, on Wednesday condemned the alleged acts of some nurses at the Barau Dikko Teaching Hospital, Kaduna, which resulted in the death of an infant.
She expressed her displeasure in a statement in Abuja on Wednesday.
The minister said, “What has happened to our humanity? Where did we get it wrong? As a Nigerian woman, I am in shock to imagine that the lives of innocent infants are no more sacred even to those entrusted to care for them.
“It is in this mood that I am wondering why three nurses of Barau Dikko Hospital, Kaduna, under the guise of the ongoing Nigeria Labour Congress strike in Kaduna State turned off the oxygen on a two-day old infant which resulted in death. No matter the provocation, this is unacceptable.
“As a mother as the Minister of Women Affairs who has sworn to protect the lives of Nigerian children, I consider this a heinous crime and condemn this in all totality.”
Infant didn’t die – Hospital
The Public Relations Officer of the Barau Dikko Teaching Hospital, Ibrahim Adachi, however, said the infant did not die.
He said, “The infant did not die. The nurses that were going on strike left, so they discharged the baby. Then we got her back today and she is in the hospital now.”