Nigeria Labour Congress Begins Mobilisation for Wednesday’s Strike

Nigeria Labour Congress Begins Mobilisation for Wednesday’s Strike

The Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC, has begun mass mobilisation in preparation for a nationwide strike scheduled to begin on Wednesday to protest the hardship caused by the removal of fuel subsidies.

In a schedule released on Sunday, the Nigeria Labour Congress urged Nigerians to join them at the Unity Fountain, Abuja on Wednesday, August 2, 2023, at 7 am local time.

“There is nowhere in the world where the government leaves its citizens totally to the vagaries of the market without some measure of control and protection. The Federal Government should immediately deal decisively with the criminal content of subsidy instead of exposing ordinary citizens to avoidable pain and hardship.

“As a matter of national importance, it is imperative to fix all our refineries to be able to cater to domestic fuel consumption,” the Nigeria Labour Congress said.

In response to President Bola Tinubu’s recent monetary policies, the Nigeria Labour Congress stated, “We are concerned that no government acting reasonably leaves its national currency to market forces.”

The union reiterated its demands, calling on the government to immediately drop all “anti-poor policies” and release any salaries that have been withheld from groups like the Academic Staff Union of Universities.

The Nigeria Labour Congress claimed that the Tinubu-led administration was playing games with Nigerians’ lives before its meeting with the Federal Government, which is set to take place today (Monday), and the start of the countrywide strike, which is set for Wednesday.

The Congress also called on the government to take seriously its engagement with the labour unions.

The National Treasurer of the Nigeria Labour Congress, Hakeem Ambali, recalled how the government avoided the Friday, July 28, 2023, meeting with labour leaders at the State House in an interview with our correspondent in Abuja on Sunday.

He also questioned the National Assembly members’ approval of N70 billion in palliative care while the government continued to “play games” with the labour movement.

He said, “The government needs to take engagement with Labour seriously. The government’s economic policy has imposed untold hardship on Nigerians, and workers’ patience is running out. How can the government approve about N70bn to National Assembly members and about N35bn to the judiciary, those who are very comfortable in terms of salary, and continue to play games with Labour?”

Nigeria Labour Congress Commences Strike on Monday (News Central TV)

Academic unions, including the Academic Staff Union of Polytechnics and the Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities, have also started mobilising their members nationwide in preparation for the strike that is set to start on Wednesday.

Also, the national presidents of the two unions stated that they would participate in the strike as affiliate members of the Nigeria Labour Congress.

The National President of SSANU, Muhammed Ibrahim, said, “We are actively going to participate.”

Similarly, the National President of ASUP, Anderson Ezeibe, said, “Of course, we will join the protest.”

Also on Sunday, a group of young people from the north who operate under the auspices of the Arewa Citizen Watch for Good Governance announced that they would take to the streets of Abuja to demonstrate against the removal of subsidies, which they claimed had left them in pain and in need.

The youths demanded the dismissal of Mele Kyari, group chief executive officer of Nigerian National Petroleum Limited, for allegedly deceiving the President regarding the removal of subsidies.

At the same time, they cautioned the NNPCL against extending the Pipeline Surveillance Contract it had previously awarded to Government Tompolo, a former Niger Delta militant.

Aminu Abbas, the group’s publicity secretary, identified the NNPCL executive as the driving force behind the extension of the pipeline contract with Tompolo while speaking to journalists in Kaduna on Sunday.

According to him, protecting oil pipelines and other national assets should be the responsibility of the nation’s armed forces, failing which a vote of no confidence would be passed in them.

The group demanded Kyari’s dismissal and threatened to mobilise its members from Abuja and the 19 northern states to storm the Federal Capital Territory in opposition to the removal of subsidies.

On the other hand, on Sunday, the Nigeria Employers’ Consultative Association urged the Nigeria Labour Congress to rethink the strike “due to potential threats to sustainable enterprises, decent work, national development, and our industrial relations system.”

NECA, in a statement, expressed worry that the planned strike “could potentially disrupt the economic activities of businesses, especially those in the formal and informal sectors, which could compromise sustainability and job creation.”

“We urge the government to, as a matter of urgency, take immediate steps to ameliorate the economic trauma being faced by workers, Nigerians, and organised businesses. It is no gainsaying that many businesses are shutting down and many others are on the verge of closing, which will exacerbate the current unemployment rate and drag many further down the poverty line,” NECA said.

Also, the President has said the Federal Government is receiving support and commendations from the global community over the removal of fuel subsidy and the foreign exchange regime policies, saying they are yielding positive results.

Tinubu stated this at a Gala/Award Night on Saturday, organised by the office of the Head of the Civil Service of the Federation to recognise and honour outstanding civil servants to mark the 2023 Civil Service Week, according to a statement released by the HOCSF on Sunday.

Tinubu thanked government employees for their contributions to the nation’s economic growth while being represented by George Akume, Secretary to the Government of the Federation.

The President declared, “We shall, without delay, cushion the pains being experienced by our people as a result of these measures through several well-targeted interventions aimed at providing adequate relief and succour to a significant number of our long-suffering citizens.”

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