Dialogue still open on subsidy, says Labour Minister

Okey Ndiribe

04 January 2012, Sweetcrude, ABUJA—Minister of Labour, Chief Chukwuemeka Wogu, has assured the nation’s labour movement that the option of dialogue was still open, despite the Federal Government’s removal of fuel subsidy which was announced on New Year day.

This was contained in a statement issued in Abuja, Tuesday, by Assistant Director In-charge of Press at the Labour Ministry, Mr. Samuel Olowookere.

The statement read: “Honourable Minister of Labour and Productivity, Chief Emeka Wogu, has appealed to organised labour in the country not to overheat the system, but to discuss with government on perfecting the benefits that will accrue to Nigerian workers through the implementation of the subsidy removal policy of the Federal Government.”

The statement said the gains of subsidy removal will far outweigh its temporal pains and urged Nigerians to support the policy which is aimed at improving their well being.

The Minister also said discussion that had taken place in the past between labour and government was still ongoing, adding that what was important was for labour to continue to dialogue with government on the implementation of the deregulation in the down-stream sector of the oil and gas sector.

The Minister emphasised that “if at this point fuel subsidy is removed, no law has been violated because there is no provision for subsidy in the 2012 budget. The International Labour Organisation, ILO, Conventions, Labour Act and all other extant laws encourage dialogue.

“It is better to dialogue, agree or disagree and continue in that process than to take laws into your hands. All these pockets of protest could be isolated.

“There must be a clear distinction between hoodlums and organised labour unions. I believe that we have not exhausted the option of dialogue which is still ongoing.”

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