The labour unions are threatening to go ahead with their planned strike action
The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) has vowed to go ahead with its scheduled nationwide strike on today, May 18 after walking out of the meeting held with the representatives of the Federal Government.
NLC said they were angered by the decision of the Federal Government to proceed to court, despite existing negotiation which was at the instance of the government.
The action of the NLC followed the failure of the parties to resolve the dispute over the increase of the pump price of petroleum by the Federal Government from N86.50 to N145 per litre.
Recall that over the weekend, organised labour and the civil society gave the Federal Government till midnight on Tuesday to reverse the increase or face an indefinite national strike.
While the NLC said it was not aware of the court order stopping the strike, the Trade Union Congress flayed the Federal Government for obtaining it.
“I am not aware of any court injunction. As far as I am concerned, I am not aware of any court injunction,” the general secretary of the NLC, Dr Peter Ozo-Eson, told Punch newspaper.
On its part, the President of the TUC, Mr Bala Kaigama said: “That is what we are going to the meeting to find out. Who instituted that? So, we would find out if it is going to stop our negotiations. They are doing it through panic. I think they are scared. We have not been served. Can you talk of what you have not seen?” he asked.
The NIC in its ruling on Tuesday, May 17 stopped the TUC and the NLC from embarking on their planned strike scheduled to start on Wednesday.
But Speaking to newsmen after the meeting with labour leaders, secretary to the government of the federation, Mr Babachir Lawal said: “The National Industrial Court has given an injunction that no strike by NLC and TUC should hold tomorrow (Wednesday). It is therefore clear that anyone embarking on strike tomorrow (Wednesday) is doing so illegally and government is assuring all Nigerians to come out and do their jobs tomorrow (Wednesday).
“It the duty of government to provide security for her citizens and anyone who tries to coerce any worker to do their bidding would be made to face the law of the land. We had full cooperation with the Trade Union Congress of Nigeria and they said they are not going on strike. For them, it is a complete return to work tomorrow (Wednesday). It is not the same with the NLC however. They have two factions, one agreed completely with the position of the TUC.”
Meanwhile, the two major unions in Nigeria’s oil and gas sector endorsed the price modulation mechanism adopted by the Federal Government to arrive at the new N145 per litre pump price for petrol.
FG applies no work, no pay policy
With NLC’s stand on the strike, the SGF in a statement directed all ministers, permanent secretaries and heads of government agencies to invoke the provision of rule against errant workers.
“This notice is regrettably given in spite of an order by the industrial court against the strike. Government, therefore, calls upon and advises all workers to respect the laws of the land and to desist from participating in an illegal action.
“Government undertakes to guarantee the safety of workers and their workplaces, and expects that normal work will continue in the interest of the nation. Accordingly, security agencies have been directed to ensure unimpeded access to offices, workplaces and markets.
“Accordingly, all ministers, permanent secretaries and heads of government agencies are hereby directed to invoke the provision of ‘no work no pay’ in respect of any staff member who absents himself or herself from work to join the strike.”
“Attendance registers are required to be opened in all Ministries, Departments and Agencies.”