The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) remains resolute in its decision to commence an indefinite strike nationwide. NLC President Joe Ajaero confirmed this during an interview on Arise News, suggesting that the strike may commence by midnight on Tuesday.
Ajaero pointed out that the federal government had ample time to address the labor movement’s concerns and resolve the ongoing dispute, primarily related to the removal of fuel subsidies. The NLC had criticized the government for not implementing measures to alleviate the impact of the subsidy removal.
He expressed disappointment that there had been no tangible progress in the negotiations between the federal government and labor regarding palliatives. Ajaero highlighted that the sudden removal of the subsidy without prior discussion on mitigating effects had further complicated the situation.
When asked about the strike’s potential success, Ajaero referenced the recent warning strike, which he claimed achieved about 80% success despite efforts to disrupt it. He stated that the impending indefinite strike would have a significant impact.
Ajaero accused the federal government of attempting to undermine the strike, vilify NLC leadership, and sow division among trade unions. He believed that if the government had expended the same energy in seeking a solution as it had in undermining the strike, the issue could have been resolved.
He emphasized that the mission of the labor movement was to assist the less privileged and criticized the Nigeria Employers Consultative Association (NECA) and the Manufacturers Association (MAN) for expressing concerns about the strike’s effects on businesses and the national economy.
Ajaero argued that NECA had not engaged in direct communication with labor and should not play to the gallery. He also noted that the impact of the strike on the economy was negligible, given the current state of affairs.
Regarding MAN’s concerns, Ajaero questioned whether manufacturing was still viable in the country, considering rising energy costs and reduced consumer purchasing power. He urged MAN to address these issues rather than complain about labor actions.
Ajaero dismissed any attempts by the government to divide organized labor, emphasizing that their unity was grounded in their shared mission to alleviate poverty and improve workers’ wages. He asserted that both the NLC and the Trade Union Congress (TUC) were aligned on wage and related matters, regardless of the approach taken to reach their goals.