THE Nigeria Labour Congress has explained why it succumbed to the pleas of the federal government and muted its hyped threat to embark on a nationwide strike, which was supposed to have commenced today, Wednesday, June 7, 2023.
The Trade Union Congress (TUC) on its part revealed that did not embark on strike because government accepted to implement all the demands it tabled.
In its explanation, contained in the communiqué of its Tuesday’s emergency National Executive Council (NEC) meeting, the second in four days, signed by Comrade Joe Ajaero and General Secretary, Emmanuel Ugboaja, its President and General Secretary respectively, NLC alluded to among other motives its unwillingness to encourage lawlessness, taking note of a court injunction restraining NLC from proceeding with the proposed strike; recognising government’s willingness to dialogue as well as its reasonable offer of palliatives in due course to cushion the effect of its policies and considering the mood of the nation as basis for the suspension of the strike.
The communiqué reads: “An emergency National Executive Council (NEC) of the Congress which was called to discuss the outcome of the Dialogue between the NLC and the Federal Government on the Petroleum Products Price hike after extensive deliberation observed that:
“1. Whereas the previous NEC-in-Session had ordered a nation-wide withdrawal of Service and mass protest over the Petroleum Price hike by the federal government;
“2. Whereas the federal government was in breach of the 2023 Appropriation Act, the NLC will not encourage lawlessness on its part;
“3. Taking into account that the federal government has procured a Court injunction restraining Congress from proceeding with the proposed nation- wide strike as the NEC-in-session had ordered to begin, Wednesday, the 7th of June, 2023;
“4. Recognizing the willingness of government for continuous engagement through dialogue and to offer reasonable palliatives in due course to cushion the effect of its policies and some levels of understanding reached
“5. Considering the mood of the Socio-polity last elections and the need to pursue national stability and;
Consequently, the NEC-in-session resolved as follows;
“6. to commend and applaud the diligence of the Congress’ leadership in carrying out the assignment given to it by NEC.
“7. to demonstrate to the federal government the need to comply with the Laws of the land especially as it concerns obedience to the rulings of the Courts and their brazen disregard to the 2023 Appropriation Act
“8. to therefore support and accept the decision of the leadership of Congress to suspend the proposed strike action in compliance with the flawed rulings of the NIC and also allow negotiations to flow freely and enable final agreement during or after the 19th June, 2023 negotiation round with the federal government
“9. to however register in strongest terms its disgust and disapproval with the ruling of the National Industrial Court (NIC) for its continuous weaponization of the instrument of Exparte injunction in favour of Government against the interests of Nigerian workers in defiance of the position of the Supreme Court on the use of this instrument.
“10. All Affiliates and State Councils of Congress are hereby directed to suspend further action and mobilization until the outcome of the final negotiations.
“11. To commend all Affiliates and State Councils on their robust mobilization towards a successful nation-wide strike action and to also remain vigilant in case there is a need to continue.”
Meanwhile, the House of Representatives, on Tuesday commended the NLC for suspending the strike adding that accepting to negotiate with government was laudable.
The commendation followed a motion moved by Hon. Idem Unyime at plenary. Adopting the motion, the House acknowledged the huge expenditure hitherto made on subsidies and urged the federal government to ensure that the money saved from subsidy removal was channelled to other developmental projects.
It also called for the implementation of resolutions reached with the organised labour unions, if only to appreciate the suspension of the planned strike.
Govt Accepted All Our Demands — Comrade Toro
Comrade Nuhu Toro, the Secretary General of TUC, told journalists in an interview on Tuesday that the federal government accepted all demands made by his centre. He added that it was not yet over as labour was still meeting with government on June 19, 2023.
“Sincerely, we went into the meetings or negotiations with the government and they accepted all our demands. In that case, there was no need to proceed with any industrial action. The essence of an ultimatum is to get the government’s attention to present our demands which we did. In any case, it is not over. We are meeting on June 19 to review the situation,” Comrade Toro said.
Comrade Toro however did not disclose if reversal of the over 200% hike in the price of petrol was not part of TUC’s demands.
Among the demands made by the TUC include the payment of a new minimum wage of N200,000.