Federal Government Urges NLC and TUC to Reconsider Nationwide Strike – In a bid to prevent a proposed nationwide indefinite strike scheduled for October 3, the Federal Government appealed to the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and the Trade Union Congress of Nigeria (TUC) on the grounds that the action would violate a current court injunction.
Highlighting the urgency of the situation, the National Economic Council (NEC) requested the labour unions to rethink their decision and encouraged negotiations between the Federal Government and labour unions at the state level. This appeal was made even as the NLC held firm on its stance to proceed with the strike. Additionally, the Nigeria Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG) mandated its members, including those involved in petroleum product distribution, to comply with the strike directive.
In response to the NLC’s denial of any prior agreement to suspend the planned strike, the government noted that the central issues prompting the strike, including fuel subsidy removal, are under consideration by the National Industrial Court.
Through a letter from the Attorney-General of the Federation, Prince Lateef Fagbemi, the government urged the union’s legal team to convince their clients to cancel the strike, emphasizing the importance of abiding by court orders. The letter also highlighted the need for dialogue and mutual engagements for the nation’s best interest.
NEC, in its bid to prevent the strike, also urged labour leaders to continue negotiations, noting the potential economic repercussions of a nationwide halt in operations. With many states recovering from prolonged industrial strikes, NEC expressed concerns about the further economic damage another strike could inflict.
Despite these pleas, NUPENG issued directives to its members to fully support the strike, expressing dissatisfaction with the government’s approach to socio-economic challenges. They described the government’s actions as highly insensitive and disrespectful to organized labour and the Nigerian populace.
Adding voice to the call for the strike, the United Action Front of Civil Society endorsed the planned action. They lamented the government’s economic decisions and the impact on the nation’s citizens, particularly the fuel price hike and alleged mishandling of national treasury.
In contrast, Philip Agbese, Deputy Spokesman of the House of Representatives, urged the NLC and TUC to focus on dialogue. He asserted that President Bola Tinubu’s decision to remove the fuel subsidy was for the nation’s greater good, with the future benefits outweighing the immediate repercussions.
As the proposed strike date approaches, the nation waits in anticipation of the next course of action and hopes for a resolution that benefits all parties.