Fuel Subsidy: FG pleads as NLC, TUC announce date for indefinite strike

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The labour unions said "the strike is to demonstrate our resolve for a truly independent Nigeria; to take our destinies in our own hands and rescue our nation."

The Trade Union Congress (TUC) and the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) said they will embark on an indefinite strike from 3 October over the prevailing hardship due to the removal of oil subsidy.

TUC President, Festus Osifo, said this in a communique he jointly signed with the NLC President, Joe Ajaero, on Tuesday in Abuja.

The communique was issued at the end of a joint National Executive Council (NEC) meeting of the two unions.

According to Mr Osifo, “the strike is to demonstrate our resolve for a truly independent Nigeria; to take our destinies in our own hands and rescue our nation.”

He said the NLC/TUC NEC-in-session, resolved as follows:

“To embark on an indefinite and total shutdown of the nation beginning on zero hours, Tuesday, the 3rd day of October, 2023.

“To direct all workers in Nigeria to withdraw their services from their respective workplaces commencing from the 3rd of October.

“To direct all affiliates and state councils to immediately start mobilising accordingly for action to organise street protests and rallies until government responds positively to our demands.”

Mr Osifo also enjoined all patriotic Nigerians to join hands across the nation “to assist this government put the people back at the centre of its policies and programmes.”

Mr Ajaero, however, said that labour and government agreed that there was massive suffering, impoverishment and hunger in the country as a result of the hike in the price of petrol.

He added that this demands an urgent need for remedial action.

He also alleged that the government had totally abdicated its responsibility and had shown gross unwillingness to act, abandoning Nigerian people and workers to excruciating poverty and affliction.

According to him, the federal government has continued to grandstand and forestall all avenues to peaceful dialogue with organised labour.

“The government has continued to demonstrate not just an unwillingness to mitigate the massive hardship in the country but also a complete lack of intention to take positive steps and empathy for the multi-dimensionally impoverished citizens of Nigeria, among others,” he said.

President Bola Tinubu had on 29 May announced the removal of fuel subsidy. The development led to hardship for many Nigerians with its attendant increase in the prices of goods and services.

On 2 August, the NLC and TUC led Nigerian workers in protests across the country over the increasing cost of living due to government policies, especially the removal of subsidies on petrol.

Also on 5 and 6 September, the NLC embarked a warning strike. It gave the government a two-week ultimatum.

The congress said the warning strike was meant to demonstrate its readiness for the indefinite strike which will now commence on 3 October.

FG, Reps appeal to labour to shelve strike

Meanwhile, the Minister of Labour and Employment, Simon Lalong, has appealed to labour to shelve the strike.

In a statement by the spokesperson of the ministry, Olajide Oshundu, on Tuesday, the minister said the government was determined to address the issues.

He also said the government has met one of the demands of labour, which is the release of the leadership of the Nigeria Union of Road Transport workers (NURTW).

Mr Lalong asked the workers’ union to give the government more time to address the remaining issues.

Also, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Tajudeen Abbas, on Tuesday pleaded with the unions to halt the proposed strike.

Mr Abbas said the strike will aggravate the current economic challenges facing the country.

He said the House would mediate between them and the federal government to fast-track an agreement.

culled from Premium Times Nigeria

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