The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) has issued a seven-day ultimatum to the Federal Government to reverse all ‘perceived anti-poor policies’ failing which it will proceed on a nationwide strike, which it announced would start on August 2.
This latest threat by Organised Labour is coming just as President Bola Tinubu appealed to the organisation to give the Federal Government more time to consider their grievances before embarking on any nationwide strike. There are also reports that the government may enforce the earlier court order restraining the organised labour from embarking on a strike over the withdrawal of the subsidy on petrol products.
On Wednesday, the meeting between the leaders of the NLC and the Trade Union Congress of Nigeria (TUC) and the Presidential Steering Committee on Palliatives set up by the Federal Government failed to reach a consensus.
The meeting at the office of the Chief of Staff to the President, was attended by labour delegations led by Festus Osifo, the TUC President and Joe Ajaero, the NLC President.
After the meeting, the labour leaders said no agreement has been reach and they might be sticking to the planned strike
“Some of the things they presented, we did not agree with them. So, the areas we did not agree on, we also made our inputs known because when you come to such a meeting, it is for the government or its representatives to do a presentation.
“But it’s left for us to either agree or disagree. So, during the meeting, we gave them sufficient feedback. And they also agreed to go and look at those feedbacks and get back to us on Friday,” Osifo said.
“We are going ahead with the protest because we have to be emphatic on what we put in our communique, to say we are commencing protests from August 2,” Ajaero said.
But Olu Verheijen, the Special Adviser to the President on Energy, said the discussions achieved some progress in negotiations.
“We’ve agreed to continue to make progress. It was a very productive meeting.
“The focus was really around how we fast track a lot of the interventions that will bring relief, particularly around CNG, mass transportation, cleaner energy, transportation and reduce the impact of the cost of transportation,” she said.
Verheijen said the palliatives are being delayed because of the need to get them right before being rolled out. She assured that President Tinubu was working assiduously to address the issues “as quickly as he can.”
The planned strike by NLC is basically in protest of the recent hike in the price of petrol since June. President Bola Tinubu had, during his inauguration speech on 29 May, announced the removal of fuel subsidies, sparking a hike in the price of the product.
The Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPCL) in the wake of the presidential announcement introduced a new price regime ranging from N537 to N600 per litre of petrol. These prices were increased last week to N617 per litre.
NLC had earlier planned to embark on a nationwide strike in the wake of the first petrol price hike in June but was barred by a court order. In the wake of that the government set up a committee to negotiate with the NLC and the Trade Union Congress (TUC) on subsidy removal and possible palliative for the workers.