Following the end of the 21-day strike ultimatum issued to the government by organised labour last week, the leadership of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) will meet today to finalise plans for an indefinite strike. The meeting followed several moves by the labour centre to ensure that the federal government addresses the suffering across the country caused by the removal of fuel subsidy, and hit a brick wall.
In a memo addressed to its executive members and all affiliates, the NLC national general-secretary, Comrade Emmanuel Ugboaja, summoned an emergency meeting of the National Executive Council (NEC) to plan for the indefinite strike. From the unfolding events at the Pascal Bafyau Labour House, the organised labour may embark on a nationwide strike in a few days.
Many Nigerians fear the development would paralyse economic activities and essential services. Already organised private sector and some civil society organisations have kicked against the strike, claiming that it would further impoverish workers and the ailing Nigerian economy.
Although the federal government at the instance of the Federal Ministry of Labour and Employment led by the minister, Simon Lalong had invited NLC to talks, the meeting which took place last Monday ended without the resolution on palliatives for workers and Nigerians.
The meeting came weeks after the labour centre ended its two-day warning strike and few days to the end of the 21-day ultimatum. But the NLC national president, Comrade Joe Ajaero maintained that the congress has given enough time for the federal government to address all issues raised by the labour centre. In a related development, the federal government has assured the organised labour that the processes leading to the fulfilment of wage award were on course and would be concluded soon.
Lalong who gave the assurance yesterday while receiving the leadership of the National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW) on a thank-you visit after their release from detention in Abuja called on the NLC not to embark on their planned strike but allow the government to work and resolve all pending issues.
In a statement issued by the ministry’s director of press and public relations, Olajide Oshundun, Lalong said securing the release of the detained NURTW members was one of the demands of NLC at last week’s meeting between the congress and the ministers of Labour and Employment.
The minister maintained that industrial harmony remains key to the socio-economic development of any nation, and urged the union to work in synergy with the federal government in moving the country forward.