Nigeria Labour Congress Launches Warning Strike Amid Fuel Subsidy Dispute

NLC's Two-Day Warning Strike Amid Fuel Subsidy Removal Spat

Nigeria Labour Congress Launches Warning Strike Amid Fuel Subsidy Dispute
Fuel Subsidy Row Leads to NLC’s Warning Strike

The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) has commenced a two-day warning strike today, bypassing a scheduled meeting with the Federal Government. This move comes in response to the escalating hardships and suffering experienced by Nigerians following the removal of the fuel subsidy.

The Minister of Labour and Employment, Simon Lalong, cautioned against the strike, warning that it would further exacerbate the difficulties faced by ordinary Nigerians. Lalong implored the NLC to reconsider their action.

Last Friday, the NLC issued a notice announcing the two-day warning strike as a protest against the severe suffering and impoverishment prevailing nationwide. They also threatened a complete and indefinite shutdown of the economy within 14 working days or 21 days following the warning strike if the government did not address the mounting hardships.

Following a meeting of the NLC’s National Executive Council, President Joe Ajaero stated, “NEC has resolved to embark on a total and indefinite shutdown of the nation within 14 working days or 21 days from today until the government takes concrete steps to address the excruciating mass suffering and impoverishment across the country.”

The NLC’s decision to skip the meeting with the Federal Government reportedly stemmed from a media briefing by Minister Lalong that criticized labor leaders. This briefing, held just hours before the scheduled meeting at the Federal Ministry of Labour and Employment, led to the NLC leaders opting out of the meeting due to alleged threats.

A senior NLC official expressed frustration, stating, “We were scheduled to meet the Minister of Labour and Employment later today (yesterday), precisely by 3 pm. But a few hours before the meeting, the minister called a media briefing where he castigated us and threatened us among other uncomplimentary words.”

Despite this setback, the strike proceeded as planned, with NLC leaders asserting their commitment to the cause and lamenting the government’s lack of concrete measures to alleviate the people’s suffering.

Minister Lalong confirmed that the government had waited for the NLC to attend a negotiation meeting at the Ministry of Labour and Employment headquarters, but the NLC declined the invitation. He also revealed that the ministry had not received any formal communication from the NLC regarding the two-day warning strike.

Lalong expressed his concerns about the sudden strike notice, stating, “Because of the urgency of that strike notice, we quickly summoned a meeting today (yesterday). We conveyed a notice of this meeting to the NLC, and I must apologize that your own meeting came this morning, and all of you attended because some of the issues needed to be sorted out urgently.”

He continued, “So, the purpose of this meeting is to quickly address those issues that were raised and see the possibility of averting this strike action scheduled to be embarked upon tomorrow. We have not received any communication of any strike from the NLC.”

The Federal Government had earlier appealed to the NLC to call off the strike, emphasizing that it would worsen the plight of Nigerians already grappling with the consequences of the fuel subsidy removal.

In a related development, the Judiciary Staff Union of Nigeria (JUSUN) has ordered the closure of all courts in the country for Tuesday and Wednesday in support of the NLC’s two-day warning strike. The association cited economic hardship caused by the removal of the fuel subsidy as the reason for their action.

The NLC’s decision to proceed with the strike despite government warnings has triggered mixed reactions from various quarters, with some urging dialogue and others expressing support for the labor action. The situation remains fluid as the strike’s impact on the nation unfolds.

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