The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) has provided an explanation for the suspension of its planned nationwide strike in response to the recent fuel price increases resulting from subsidy removal.
According to a report by Warri TV, the NLC altered its course of action following a meeting with Nigerian government representatives at the Presidential Villa in Abuja on Monday. The union announced that certain measures had been implemented and an agreement was reached, leading to the decision to call off the strike.
In a press release dated June 6, 2023, jointly signed by NLC President Comrade Joe Ajaero and NLC General Secretary Comrade Emmanuel Ugboaja, the union clarified that one of the reasons for suspending the nationwide shutdown was a pending court order prohibiting them from proceeding with the planned strike.
The NLC also acknowledged the government’s willingness to engage in ongoing dialogue and provide reasonable relief measures to mitigate the impact of its policies. Furthermore, the union took into account the prevailing socio-political atmosphere following the recent elections and the importance of pursuing national stability.
The statement stated, “An emergency National Executive Council (NEC) of the Congress, which was convened to discuss the outcome of the dialogue between the NLC and the Federal Government on the Petroleum Products Price hike, observed that: While the previous NEC-in-Session had directed a nationwide withdrawal of services and mass protests in response to the Petroleum Price hike by the federal government; whereas the federal government was in violation of the 2023 Appropriation Act, the NLC will not condone lawlessness on its part.”
Considering that the federal government had obtained a court injunction restraining the Congress from proceeding with the proposed nationwide strike, as ordered by the NEC-in-session to commence on Wednesday, June 7, 2023, the NLC concluded that it would not encourage any illegal actions.
Therefore, the NLC’s National Executive Committee resolved to commend and appreciate the Congress leadership for fulfilling the assignment given to them by the NEC. They also decided to emphasize the need for the government to adhere to the laws of the land, particularly in relation to compliance with court rulings and the blatant disregard for the 2023 Appropriation Act.
The NLC expressed support and acceptance of the Congress leadership’s decision to suspend the proposed strike action in compliance with the flawed rulings of the National Industrial Court (NIC) and to allow negotiations to continue freely. They aimed to reach a final agreement during or after the negotiation round with the federal government scheduled for June 19, 2023.
However, the NLC expressed its displeasure and disagreement with the NIC’s continuous utilization of ex-parte injunctions in favor of the government, which contradicts the position of the Supreme Court regarding the use of such measures to the detriment of Nigerian workers’ interests.
The statement concluded by directing all affiliates and State Councils of the Congress to halt further action and mobilization until the outcome of the final negotiations is reached.