VAM News Update
Following its two-day nationwide warning strike on the 5 and 6 September, the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) has threatened to begin an indefinite strike, should the federal government fail to meet its demand at the end of the 21-day ultimatum.
Recall that the NLC President Joe Ajaero had revealed that the National Executive Council of the labour union, in its last meeting, resolved to embark on an indefinite strike after a given 21-day ultimatum which ends in a week.
The union, in a letter to the federal government on 1 September, said, “If the government fails to provide the appropriate responses to our demands, we encourage you to maintain your steadfast resolve. The same passion and determination that fuelled this warning strike will be crucial if we find ourselves compelled to embark on an indefinite nationwide strike.’’
The NLC had insisted that the two-day warning strike was important for them to express their displeasure about the lukewarm attitude of the government towards cushioning the hardship created by the removal of fuel subsidy.
The union had also accused the government of implementing what it describes as bad policies of the new administration under President Bola Tinubu.
Giving an update on plans for the proposed indefinite strike should the government fail to yield to their demands, Naija News learned that the NLC disclosed on Tuesday that anytime from next week, it can commence the industrial action that would lead to an indefinite shutdown of commercial and economic activities across the country.
Speaking with The Punch, the National Assistant General Secretary of the NLC, Mr Christopher Onyeka, said that it was not fair for the government to give a bag of rice to a dozen citizens, while allegedly giving National Assembly members N100 million palliative each.
Though the FG made a commitment to restructure the framework for engagement with organised Labour on palliatives, the eight-week timeframe set for the conclusion of the process expired in August with no action whatsoever.
According to Onyeka, the union would not even hint to the government before the commencement of the industrial action.
He said, “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,”
Onyeka, who described the current palliative states as an insult to Nigerians, added, “Can you see the insult that a ward would share a bag of rice and the government calls that a palliative? It is an insult to Nigerians, whereas the government gave legislators N70bn and each of the legislators gets over N100m in a country where Nigerians are suffering.
“The FG is buying cars and houses of over N100m for each person, and Nigerians are keeping quiet as if what is going on is a normal thing. NLC calls Nigerians to join hands together because they cannot do it alone.
‘’When NLC calls for action, people should come out; they should because it is a collective effort to make the government yield to the desires and the interests of Nigerians.”