…NLC team storms out of negotiation meeting
…declares indefinite strike
…FG threatens sanctions
Chris Steven, Abuja
The federal government and leadership of Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) led by Comrade Ayuba Wabba have drawn battle line over the increase in the pump price of petrol from N86.50 to N145 as the labour despite has declared an indefinite strike despite the ruling of National Industrial Court restraining NLC and its affiliates from any strike.
NLC President, Comrade Ayuba Wabba led other chiefs of the Congress out of the negotiation meeting yesterday night at the office of Secretary to the Government of the Federation on the ground that government refused to reverse the pump price.
His words : ” On this specific issue of the increase in the pump price which has resulted to about 67.8 percent increase and it is an issue that we have issued an ultimatum since last week. We were invited to the meeting by government. Yesterday we had to take time to discuss at our National Executive Council meeting and today we still came back.
The issue and the mandate that we have is to the effect that the pump price at the rate of N145 is too outrageous and is therefore with the very hard economic situation it is something especially in the quantum of the increase. Therefore, even the attempt to see how it can be mitigated was not made possible at the meeting. “
The strike is effective from 12midnight of today (Wednesday).
The decision to commence an indefinite strike to force government to review the pump price was arrived at end the of another emergency National Executive Council (NEC) meeting of NLC presided over by the NLC President held on Tuesday.
It was gathered that NLC resolved to embark on the strike in view of federal government’s action of going to Industrial Court despite existing negotiation which was at the instance of the government.
NLC President said that the Congress was not aware of any court injunction by the government restraining them from proceeding with their strike.
According to him, the Congress had no option than to disregard it,since the Federal Government was in the habit of disregarding court injunctions.
He alleged that Minister of Power, Works and Housing,Babatunde Fashola had consistently defied court order restraining him from arbitrary increase in electricity tariff,hence they(Labour) will also not obey any court order.
Another member of NLC who craved for anonymity had told our Correspondent that the strike commences today (Wednesday) as Federal Government has stirred the hornet nest with the court action.
He said the strike which is indefinite, will be effective for the first three days while the Congress will use the weekend to strategise and mobilize more for the mass action the following week.
” It is indefinite beginning from 12midnight . It took NUT General Secretary, President of Construction Workers to make NLC President and others to agree that the strike should be indefinite. They were actually going to agree on a seven -day warning strike. ” He said
While reacting to the development, Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Engineer Babachir Lawal who presided over the meeting noted that the federal was able to extract commitment with the other faction of NLC to work on the agreement reached.
He noted that the Trade Union Congress (TUC) had backed out of the strike even as he remarked that any strike embarked upon against the injunction of the Industrial Court earlier on Tuesday on illegal.
The SGF further warned that no worker should be compelled to join strike even as he said that the notice given by the NLC to the federal government to reverse the pump price was short.