NLC Leadership To Decide On Nationwide Strike As Subsidy Removal Ultimatum Expires

Credit: I reporters online. 
 As the ultimatum issued by the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) to the Federal Government, demanding action on the hardships caused by the removal of petrol subsidies, expires today, the NLC leadership will convene next week to determine when to commence an indefinite nationwide strike.

Reports indicate that Vice President Senator Kashim Shettima has been engaging with members of the government team to find ways to avert the strike.

It has also been revealed that the Minister of Finance, Wale Edun, and the Minister of Labour and Employment, Simon Lalong, in collaboration with the Vice President, are preparing a package, including wage adjustments, to present to the NLC leadership.

The NLC had previously conducted a two-day nationwide warning strike between September 5 and 6, protesting government insensitivity to the suffering of Nigerians, especially workers, following the subsidy removal.

In anticipation of the warning strike, the NLC's National Executive Council (NEC) had issued a 21-day ultimatum, commencing from September 1, 2023, for the government to address the widespread suffering and impoverishment experienced across the country. The NLC threatened an indefinite strike if its demands were not met.

With the 21-day ultimatum now expiring, key bodies within the NLC will meet next week to decide on the indefinite strike and its modalities if concrete actions are not taken to alleviate the suffering of Nigerians.

A source within the NLC explained, "The typical procedure is that when an ultimatum expires, the organizational bodies convene to determine when to initiate the strike. If they decide to take some time to prepare, that would be their stance."

When asked if the strike would commence immediately, a source familiar with NLC meetings responded, "Nothing is impossible."

Another source disclosed that the NLC's leadership, particularly members of the National Administrative Council (NAC), had received approval from the last NEC meeting on September 1, 2023, to set a strike commencement date and communicate it to state councils and industrial union affiliates.

However, if the government meets the NLC's demands to a satisfactory extent, the leadership will update the organs accordingly.

The source also noted that the government team is actively working to prevent another labor dispute with the NLC, and both the Minister of Finance and the Vice President are considering various proposals and figures.

"The seriousness of the planned action is understood by some members of the government team, and they are not hesitant because of the package they have for workers. The government will soon announce its proposal, and they are making significant efforts," the source stated.

The NLC leadership has made it clear that they will not participate in any meetings without tangible packages for workers.

Efforts to obtain a response from the Presidency were unsuccessful, as the Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Chief Ajuri Ngelale, is currently out of the country accompanying the President at the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) summit.

During a briefing last Friday following its NEC meeting, NLC President Joe Ajaero stated, "NEC-in-session of NLC resolved to embark on a total and indefinite shutdown of the nation within 14 working days or 21 days from today until steps are taken by the government to address the excruciating mass suffering and the impoverishment experienced around the country."

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