Despite the determination by the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) to go ahead with the nationwide strike over the removal of subsidy on petrol and the hike in the price of the commodity, there was uncertainty last night if the attempt by the union to shut down the country today would go ahead, owing to a division within the NLC and the decision by the NLC faction and the Trade Union Congress (TUC) to suspend the planned strike. THIS DAY reports.
The division was quite obvious yesterday when a faction of the NLC led by a former Deputy President of the NLC and General Secretary of the National Union of Electricity Employees (NUEE), Mr. Joe Ajaero, first met with the federal government team led by the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Mr. Babachir Lawal.
The faction subsequently said it would not embark on the planned strike and announced instead that a committee would be set up with the government to review the current price of petrol, address demands for a review of the national minimum wage, and the palliatives to cushion the effects of the economic hardship in the country.
However, at another meeting held last night between government and the NLC led by Ayuba Wabba, both sides failed to reach a last minute compromise.
Following the disagreement, the leaders of the NLC walked out of the meeting with the government, saying they would mobilise their members nationwide for an indefinite strike starting from today to protest the fuel price hike.
He said: “As of today, this is our position as NLC: we have to discontinue with the meeting, so this is a walkout and dead end, because the demand cannot be made within the mandate.”
He also said that the NLC had not received any court process stopping the strike, adding: “We have not been served, we are not aware, we have not been put on notice.”
However, the TUC, which had threatened to mobilise its members to go on strike, said it would no longer do so and would tell its members to report to work today.
TUC President Bobboi Kaigama said: “Ladies and gentlemen, Nigerian workers across the 36 states of federation. Consequently upon this agreement, we hereby suspend the planned industrial action that was supposed to take place effective midnight today. We urge our members to report to work today and go about their normal duties.”
Also briefing the press after the meeting, the SGF confirmed that the TUC had decided not to proceed with the strike.
He said, however, that in the case of the NLC, which is factionalised, one faction agreed to shelve the strike, while the other insisted on going ahead.
“Aside from the NLC, a number of individual affiliate unions had long indicated that they would not participate in the planned strike. So government is fully assured that tomorrow (today), there would be no strike,” he explained.