Nigeria: NLC Insists On Indefinite Strike, Says Govt Had Enough Time to Resolve Dispute

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Barring any last minute breakthrough in discussions between the federal government and labour over relief measures following government's removal of fuel subsidy, Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) may declare an indefinite strike by midnight tomorrow.

Ajaero said the federal government had more than enough time to resolve the dispute and address the concerns of the labour movement, but chose not to do so.

The union first observed a two-day nationwide warning strike on September 5 and 6 to show its readiness for the indefinite strike later in the month. Apart from demanding reasonable palliatives to cushion the effects of fuel subsidy removal, NLC also demanded that the Nigeria Police should vacate the illegally occupied national headquarters of the National Union of Road Transport Workers and free its detained leaders.

When asked if he was confident that the planned indefinite strike would be successful, Ajaero said the earlier warning strike achieved about 80 per cent success, despite efforts to sabotage it.Ajaero stated,"First, the basis for asking for palliatives and even wage award should have been there if the government were able to do the first things first.

"We gave another 21 days' notice, it expired on Friday. I don't know how much time the minister of labour is asking for. We honoured a meeting summoned by the Minister Labour and Employment last week." With regard to the concern expressed by MAN, Ajaero, said,"I don't know if anything is still being manufactured with the situation of things in the country. With the energy cost going up, I don't know what is being manufactured and what is being sold.

Speaking on the alleged plot by government to divide organised labour, Ajaero said government could not create division among the trade unions. He said if the move to divide the ranks of organised labour was a strategy by government such plan was dead on arrival.Ajaero said TUC might have adopted a strategy of waiting for some more time, but NLC, which is the union of the least paid workers experiencing the hardship the most, would want that problem be solved now.

At the weekend, also, THISDAY learnt that the federal government might be considering the option of dragging NLC to the industrial court to prevent the colossal damage an indefinite nationwide strike could cause the economy.OPSN expressed deep concern over the looming workers' strike and warned that incessant stoppage was de-marketing Nigeria's ailing economy and diminishing the livelihood of the average Nigerian.


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