In a significant development, the Trade Union Congress (TUC) has decided not to participate in the nationwide warning strike scheduled by the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) to commence tomorrow.
TUC President, Comrade Festus Osifo, emphasized the importance of dialogue between the NLC and the government.
“As of today, there is no immediate need for a nationwide strike,” Osifo declared after a meeting with Labour Minister Simon Lalong.
He urged the NLC leadership to engage in intensified discussions with the government to resolve identified issues within the given timeframe.
The NLC had announced last week that its members would initiate a warning strike, followed by a general strike in three weeks, protesting the government’s removal of the petrol subsidy, which cost the government approximately $10 billion annually.
While labour unions had previously suspended their strike action for talks with the government, those discussions failed to yield concessions substantial enough to satisfy organized labour.
Union leader Joe Ajaero expressed frustration, stating, “The federal government has refused to engage and reach an agreement with organized labour on the critical issues stemming from the unfortunate petrol price hike, which has brought immense suffering to Nigerian workers and citizens.”
Despite an appeal from Labour Minister Simon Lalong to reconsider the strike, the NLC remained resolute in its decision, preparing for a “total and indefinite shutdown of the nation” later in the month unless government actions alleviate the “excruciating mass suffering and impoverishment” affecting the country.
Lalong emphasized the need for industrial peace and appealed to the NLC to suspend the intended strike.
He assured Nigerian workers that the government was committed to addressing their concerns and pledged to work on policies aimed at generating employment and resolving immediate challenges arising from government actions.
“It has become pertinent to appeal to the leadership of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) to suspend its intended two-day warning strike, as such action would be detrimental to the gains already being recorded on our course to securing a greater future fo Nigerian workers and citizens at large
“It should be realised that the cabinet of this administration was only recently sworn in by Mr. President and all cabinet members have hit the ground running by receiving briefings from their MDAs.
“Therefore, the issues raised by the leadership of the NLC are some issues that I and the Hon. Minister of State for Labour and Employment are being briefed upon. In the next few weeks, we intend to address them holistically.
“Consequently, I use this opportunity to reassure Nigerian workers that this government would never take them for granted nor fail to appreciate their support and understanding.
“We shall continue to pursue policies aimed at massive employment generation in all sectors of the economy as well as look into immediate challenges that have emerged from the policies of the government. We cannot do this in an atmosphere devoid of industrial peace,” he said.
Notably, Lalong also stated that his ministry had not received the required notification of the planned strike as per legal requirements.
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