Federal lawmakers have promised to review and address the organised labour’s demands within the next one week.
The Senate President, Godswill Akpabio said this when organised labour took its mass protest to the National Assembly Complex where it submitted a list of its demands on Wednesday in Abuja.
The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and the Trade Union Congress (TUC) organised the protest over anti-poor and workers policies of the Federal Government.
With placards bearing inscriptions such as ; “We condemn increase in school fees, “Stop importation of Petrol, Revive the Refineries,” ”Increase in price of fuel responsible for inflation, poverty among others, the protests spread to different parts of the country.
Akpabio, who was represented by Ali Ndume, Chief Whip of the Senate, told the protesting workers that NASS was in support of their struggle.
“We have keenly followed what is going on when we realized that there was a breakdown in the discussions between the Presidency and the NLC. I want to assure you that we will find a permanent solution to this.
“Please give us one week and we will make progress and if you are not satisfied with the progress we are making, then you can take further action,” he said.
He also said a committee had been set up to look into the demands from the organised labour, adding that by the close of the day or tomorrow, they will call the first meeting with labour to discuss and the engagements would continue.
“We will do our best as your representatives to come out with solutions acceptable to you and realistic enough,” he said.
Ndume also assured that the letter which contained their demands and terms of reference would be handed over to the leadership of the Senate.
Earlier, NLC President, Joe Ajaero said the nationwide mass protest was an expression of workers’ frustrations and grievances of the anti-poor policies that had brought hardship on Nigerians.
He said ”for almost two months now, we have been engaged in discussions without fruitful motion. We got frustrated.”
He listed the demands of the labour to include the immediate implementation of the resolutions jointly signed with organised Labour and government.
Ajaero also called for the immediate reversal of all anti-poor policies of the government including the recent hike in PMS price, school fees and VAT.
He called on the Federal Government to fix the country’s’ local refineries in Port Harcourt, Warri and Kaduna, just as he also demanded the release of the eight months withheld salaries of the university lecturers and workers.
“Accord appropriate recognition and support to the Presidential Steering Committee and the work of its subcommittees.
“Also put a stop to inhuman actions and policies of the government,” he added.
TUC President Festus Osifo, called for the reduction in the cost of governance, saying the government was “insensitive to the plight of the masses.”
“The Nigerian masses have been battered. They have gone through excruciating pains but in all of this, we have not heard what the President has to say about the cost of governance.
“We want you in the National Assembly to show sacrifice. We want you to cut down your budget.
“We want you to buy Nigerian made cars and not imported vehicles because you are creating jobs over there and importing poverty here.
“We want you to show leadership because we elected you to work for us,” he said.