The Federal Government will meet with members of organised labour on Monday in an attempt to avert a statewide strike planned by the Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC.
The NLC, on the other hand, has recommended residents stock their houses with food, medications, and other necessities ahead of the start of its seven-day strike to protest the withdrawal of gasoline subsidies and the rising cost of life in the country.
The warning was issued because the strike will cripple the nation by significantly restricting travel as commercial transport firms withdraw their services, forcing markets, schools, and healthcare institutions to close.
According to the Sunday PUNCH, the NLC has issued the government a seven-day ultimatum, with a countrywide strike set to begin on Wednesday, August 2, 2023. In a statement signed by its National President, Joe Ajaero, the labour movement accused the Tinubu-led Federal Government of failing to meet the demands it made following the removal of the subsidy on Premium Motor Spirit, popularly known as petrol, which caused an astronomical rise in the commodity’s pump price.
Following the NLC’s strike declaration, the government team promptly called for an emergency meeting with organised labour, including the NLC and Trade Union Congress, with a follow-up meeting in the State House on Friday.
However, after the reported failure of the government delegation to appear, officials of organised labour rushed out of the conference in rage.
Onyeka said that the labour delegation will meet with the government on Monday, with the conclusion determining the next move.
“Nigerians should be prepared,” he urged. That’s exactly what we’re saying. Being prepared entails stocking food in your home and being thrifty with your mobility at this time to prevent being trapped. It will be a countrywide demonstration, and we are certain that it will influence every part of the country. We are actively mobilising around the country. We are presently working at the secretariat with the CSOs.
“We may not shut down the power supply system, but depending on the government’s response, we may shut down other places.” The (Friday) meeting was cancelled. The administration was unprepared. Representatives were unavailable. They didn’t seem to be taking their work seriously. We conduct conversations as one of our activities. We don’t leave the table whenever they summon us. We’ll be meeting with them again on Monday.”
The Nigeria Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers and the National Union of Electricity Employees confirmed on Saturday that they were mobilising their members to shut down the supply of fuel and the national electricity grid beginning on Wednesday in response to the NLC’s planned mass protest.
According to Afolabi Olawale, General Secretary of NUPENG, “the congress has taken a unanimous decision and it is mandatory that every affiliate should obey the directive of the Nigeria Labour Congress.”
When asked whether NUPENG was organising its members to stop the lifting of petroleum products, Olawale answered, “That’s all. I’ve provided an answer.”
Electricity workers, for their part, said that they would shut down the national power system since it was mandatory for all personnel in the sector to join the mass protest.
“The NUEE is an affiliate of the NLC, and I’ve told you that we will join the strike action,” said Dominic Igwebuike, acting General Secretary of NUEE.
“The issue is that if there is a deadlock between labour and the government, it means that the mass protest is still going on, and electricity workers, as an affiliate of the NLC, will definitely participate in the mass protest.”
“As a result, all power sector workers will join the mass protest on Wednesday, August 2, 2023.” Every employee is required to participate in the strike action. So, if it results in a blackout, the government’s only alternative is to listen to us if it wants electricity restored.
“The government should listen to the Nigerian masses who are currently suffering greatly.” That is the only thing we are requesting. So, for the time being, the protest will continue until the NLC issues another instruction.”
Tommy Etim, National Deputy President of the TUC, chastised the government for its lack of sincerity in the discussions so far.
“When we arrived at the Villa on Friday, we waited at the gate for almost two hours for clearance with no intervention.” We were only permitted in after two hours. By the time we reached the meeting place, we noticed that the team representing the government had not arrived. So it is incorrect to imply that labour stormed out of the conference. How can workers storm out of a non-existent meeting? “We were very disappointed because this was not what we expected from the government,” he said.
The National Executive Council of the NLC backed the August 2 statewide strike and mass demonstrations called by the organisation in response to the recent increase in the price of fuel at the pump.
However, the Federal Government informed the NLC that it was legally barred from starting the planned countrywide strike owing to a National Industrial Court judgment that barred organised labour from going on strike.
Members of the steering committee met with the government delegation on Wednesday, and the two sides decided to meet again on Friday to hear from the government’s subcommittees on public transportation, compressed natural gas, and cash transfer.
The Federal Government established the steering group to develop intervention strategies to mitigate the consequences of the elimination of gasoline subsidies for Nigerians.
Culled from Punchng