Senior civil servants umbrella organisation – the Trade Union Congress (TUC) – will not join the strike call by the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC).
Bellnews reports that the NLC is reportedly mobilizing for a two-day warning strike – for tomorrow and Wednesday – to protest against the federal government’s delay in implementing measures to cushion the hardship that resulted from fuel subsidy removal.
NLC President Joe Ajaero had on Friday said the decision was taken at its NEC meeting with the possibility of a “total shutdown” after 14 days.
The NLC explained that the decision followed the “failure of the Federal Government to dialogue and engage stakeholders within the organised labour on efforts to cushion the effects of the removal of petrol subsidy on the poor masses.”
Recall that the NLC and the TUC jointly staged protests in Abuja and state capitals over the subsidy removal on August 3.
But the TUC decided at its National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting on Sunday that it would continue with dialogue with the government to ease the pain of petrol subsidy removal.
The TUC source, a NEC member, told The Nation that the union reasoned that the planned strike is “premature,” adding that joining the NLC in the strike would further put the interest of the masses at risk.
“The TUC feels there is no need to embark on a strike because we are still discussing with the Federal Government on the issue of palliatives for workers,” he said.
The TUC senior member berated the NLC leadership for slowing the pace of discussion between the Organised Labour and a Federal Government team led by Chief of Staff to the President, Femi Gbajabiamila.
The source said: “The TUC is not joining the NLC on that planned warning strike. The reason is because we are reaching out to the Federal Government. The government has already released palliatives to the states, and we are also expecting the government to release the one for federal workers.
“When we met with the Senate, the statement by the NLC that they don’t have confidence in the Chief of Staff to the President-led committee led to the suspension of that committee because the man (Femi Gbajabiamila) felt if the NLC doesn’t have confidence in him why should he be leading the committee when the outcome will not be palatable? That stalled the work of the committee.
“Now, there is a Minister of Labour and Employment (Simon Lalong), who is supposed to be the leader of the government team. There is an ongoing effort to interact with us to get results.
”We feel that it is not the right time to go on strike. When you go on strike, we will be putting the masses at the receiving end because the government has a way of navigating out of such matters.
”Again, the issue of strike should not be one-sided. It should be a joint effort by the two labour centres to agree before issuing a strike notice. One centre cannot claim superiority over the other centre. It is not done anywhere.
“You cannot announce a strike and then decide to bring us in. It is supposed to be a decision taken by the two centres.
”The NLC is free to go on strike on its own. We are different union.