CITIZENS COMPASS —THE Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), has said there is no going back on its plans to embark on an indefinite strike should the federal government refuses agreement to its demands at the end of the 21-day deadline which expires in a week’s time.
With the announcement, the Union may schedule the industrial action against next week.
This was disclosed by the NLC President, Joe Ajaero, who said that the labour union’s National Executive Council will go on indefinite strike once the 21-day ultimatum expires in a week’s time.
“If the government fails to provide the appropriate responses to our demands, we encourage you to maintain your steadfast resolve,” the union said in a letter to the federal government on September 1.
” The same passion and commitment that drove this warning strike will be critical if we are forced to go on an indefinite nationwide strike.”
The NLC had gone on the two-day warning strike to demonstrate discontent with the government’s lukewarm attitude towards mitigating the suffering caused by the removal of fuel subsidy.
The union also accused the government of following what it called “bad policies”.
Giving an update on plans for the proposed indefinite strike if the government does not meet their demands, the NLC stated on Tuesday that the industrial action could begin as early as next week, resulting in an indefinite shutdown of commercial and economic activities across the country.
Christopher Onyeka, National Assistant General Secretary of the NLC, told The Punch that it was not fair for the government to give a bag of rice to a dozen residents while reportedly giving National Assembly members N100 million in palliative care.
The NLC and the Trade Union Congress (TUC) are calling for palliatives, tax reductions and allowances for public sector workers, and a revision of the minimum wage.
Despite the FG’s vow to reorganise the framework for engaging with organised labour on palliatives, the eight-week timeline set for the process’s completion expired in August with nothing happening achieved.
According to Onyeka, the union would not even make a signal to the administration before the strike began.
“We sent the letter to the Federal Government on September 1, 2023, so by September 22, 2023, the 21-day ultimatum will end.
“We have made it clear that the Federal Government has abandoned and absconded from the table for negotiation; that government is no longer negotiating with Nigerians, and there is no good faith negotiation that is going on.
“President Bola Tinubu promised Nigerians on his own on the television with the President of NLC, Joe Ajaero, that he was going to restructure the committees, but he did not do that, and since then, the committees have not met, and there has been no negotiation that is on-going. As it is, NLC is not negotiating with the government.
Can you see the insult that a ward would share a bag of rice and the government calls that a palliative?” Onyeka asked.
–With additional reports from The PUNCH