The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) has extended its ultimatum to the Federal Government as tensions rise over the removal of subsidy on petrol. The initial ultimatum, which expired on Thursday, has now prompted the NLC leadership to convene next week to determine the commencement of an indefinite nationwide strike.
Sources suggest that Vice President Senator Kashim Shettima has been engaging with government representatives in an effort to avert the looming strike. Ministers Wale Edun (Finance) and Simon Lalong (Labour and Employment), along with the Vice President, are reportedly working on a comprehensive package, including wage awards, to present to the NLC leadership.
This crisis stems from the NLC’s two-day nationwide warning strike that took place between September 5 and 6. The strike was called to protest perceived government insensitivity to the suffering of Nigerians, particularly workers, following the removal of the subsidy.
Before the warning strike, the NLC’s National Executive Council issued a 21-day ultimatum to the government, which expired on Thursday. If the government does not address the pressing issues raised by the NLC, critical NLC organs will decide on the modalities for an indefinite strike next week.
The Presidency has remained silent on the matter, leaving many Nigerians anxious about the impending strike. Additionally, the NLC has announced plans for a mass protest and rally in Imo State within September, expressing concerns about a renewed government crackdown on labor unions.
NLC President Ajaero stated that the proposed strike is a response to the government’s neglect and failure to engage with stakeholders through social dialogue.
He expressed that the Federal Government’s stance has been a lack of willingness to negotiate and come to terms with organized labor regarding crucial matters stemming from the regrettable increase in petrol prices, leading to widespread hardship among Nigerian workers and the general populace.
“There is a renewed onslaught against trade unions and its leadership by the state and its agents across Nigeria.
‘’The Police, under the instruction of certain forces peddling the name of the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, invaded and occupied illegally the national headquarters of the National Union of Road Transport Workers headquarters seeking to install its own executive.”