As the subsidy pains strike commencement nears, the Federal Government has issued an appeal, imploring organised labour to reconsider the planned nationwide two-day warning strike.
This appeal came as support for the strike grows among various unions and civil society allies, including the Academic Staff Union of Universities, Academic Staff Union of Polytechnics (ASUP), Non-Teaching Staff of Universities, and NUBIFIE.
The Minister of Labour and Employment, Simon Bako Lalong, emphasised that the government has already taken measures to mitigate the impact of the fuel subsidy removal, which is being implemented at all levels of government.
He stressed the importance of maintaining industrial harmony and preventing disruptions that could jeopardise the government’s ongoing efforts.
“In this context, it has become pertinent to appeal to the leadership of the Nigeria Labour Congress to suspend its intended two-day warning strike, as such action would be detrimental to the gains already being made in securing a better future for Nigerian workers and citizens at large,” Lalong pleaded.
Meanwhile, the national leadership of the NLC has shunned the last-minute reconciliatory meeting convened by the Minister, with the purpose of averting the two-day warning strike already declared by the labour centre.
Only the leadership of the Trade Union Congress by its President, Festus Osifo, showed up for the meeting slated for 3pm but started at exactly 5:32pm.
A member of the NLC national leadership told our correspondent that the decision of the NLC to boycott the meeting was because ongoing negotiations could stall a possible strike.
“The strike will still go on. If the leadership had attended the meeting, move to go on strike would have been stalled. It would have amounted to a form of negotiation.
Meanwhile, Labour unions across the states of the federation are also gearing up for the showdown.
In Abia State, the state chapter of the NLC accused the state government of insensitivity to their plights, describing it as unacceptable.
This was even as it has called on all affiliate unions in the state not to ignore the national directive on the warning strike but should join forces with organised labour to tell the government that enough is enough.
Addressing journalists in Umuahia on Monday, the state chairman, Pascal Iheme Nweke, regretted that the state government failed to carry labour along in matter that concerns workers in the state.
According to the Abia NLC, the relationship between government and labour in the state is not cordial, pointing out that the state government forms committees concerning workers in the state without involving labour, noting that it is not unacceptable.
Similarly, organised labour in Kogi state has ordered its members to join the two- day warning strike as directed by the National Executive Council of the NLC.
In a news bulletin circulated in Lokoja on Monday at the end an emergency meeting to ratify the decision made by the NEC, and signed by the Chairman, Gabriel Amari, and the Secretary, Owoeye Oladipupo respectively, the union said Kogi State as part of the country was not immune to the prevailing national sentiments, taking into account the extensive hardships and deprivation afflicting our citizens.
It said, “The council scrutinised the Federal government’s failure to establish structure to address the widespread suffering in our nation.”
“Furthermore, it considered the government’s deliberate neglect and disregard for engaging with national stakeholders through the channels of social dialogue, a commitment it had solemnly declared during the president’s inaugural address on May 29, 2023.
Madukwe B. Nwabuisi is an accomplished journalist renown for his fearless reporting style and extensive expertise in the field. He is an investigative journalist, who has established himself as a kamikaze reporter.