The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) is poised to declare a nationwide strike over the Federal Government’s failure to provide palliatives to cushion the effects of the fuel subsidy removal.
The NLC had earlier given the government a 21-day ultimatum to meet its demands after a two-day warning strike. The ultimatum expired on Friday, September 22, 2023.
The NLC has scheduled an emergency meeting of its National Executive Council (NEC) for Tuesday, September 26, 2023, at noon. The meeting will be held virtually and will decide the next line of action for the labour movement.
The NLC’s General Secretary, Emmanuel Ugboaja, in a notice dated September 22, 2023, urged the Presidents, General Secretaries and Treasurers of its affiliates to attend the meeting.
Meanwhile, state chapters and affiliate unions of the NLC have expressed their readiness to join the strike if the NEC resolves to do so.
In Ekiti, Gombe, Sokoto, Plateau and Benue states, the NLC leaders told Sunday PUNCH that they would comply fully with the NEC’s decision. They said that they were waiting for the directive from the national headquarters on when and how to proceed with the industrial action.
However, the Federal Government is making last-minute efforts to avert the strike by engaging with the labour leaders again this week. According to government sources, the government delegation will meet with the NLC representatives on Monday and appeal for their understanding. The sources said that the government had increased the salaries of junior lecturers by 23.5 per cent and that the nation could not afford a shutdown of its economy at this time.
The Minister of Information and National Orientation, Mohammed Idris, confirmed that he was on his way to London and that he had no update on the matter.
The fuel subsidy removal has sparked public outcry and protests across the country. The NLC is demanding that the government should reverse the policy or provide palliatives such as mass transit buses, reduction of electricity tariffs, payment of outstanding salaries and pensions, among others.
The government has insisted that the subsidy removal is necessary to free up funds for infrastructure development and social welfare programmes.