Labour reaches truce with FG, suspends strike

Tthe Organised  Labour last night suspended its industrial action, following intervention of the National Security Adviser, Nuhu Ribadu.


The National Executive Council of both organizations met at around 7pm with affiliates and state chapters where the outcome of the meeting between the labour leaders and Ribadu was discussed.

After the meeting, the National Deputy Vice President of the Trade Union Congress (TUC), Tommy Etim, said the National Executive Council (NEC) of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and the TUC suspended the two-day industrial action based on their trust for the Ribadu, who he said gave them his words.

NLC and TUC had commenced a nationwide strike from midnight on November 14, to protest the brutalization of the NLC President, Joe Ajaero, in Imo State on 1 November 1 and have vowed to continue with the strike until “government at all levels wake up to their responsibilities.”

  As the strike entered its second day and its impact bit harder, yesterday, the Federal Government had convened a meeting with NLC and TUC.

Those at the meeting held at the Office of the National Security Adviser, Abuja, were Labour and Employment, Simon Lalong, Minister of State Nkeiruka Onyeajeocha and NSA Nuhu Ribadu, President of the TUC, Festus Usifo and NLC Secretary General, Emmanuel Ugboaja and other Labour leaders.

Lalong had explained that the meeting was called because of heavy security considerations of the strike.

“The meeting was in respect of the incident that happened in Imo and the meeting came under very heavy security considerations, that’s why we brought the meeting to the office of the National Security Adviser.

“All the Labour leaders were also here with us, we had a very fruitful discussion, which were very genuine and very frank, which they have agreed to take back home to their constituents, with a plea to lift the strike so that we can continue with our deliberations,” he said.

Asked how soon the strike would be called off, he said: “That’s left for the Labour to decide, but from the discussions, we don’t expect the strike to last long again.”

Also speaking to journalists at the venue of the meeting, Usifo described the discussions as robust, and assurances were given.

“So, we said we’ll go back to reappraise the conversations that we have had, and we’ll communicate accordingly.”

On when the strike will be called off, Usifo said: “The strike was caused by something, it’s a symptom of a problem and it’s problem that we came here now to have a conversations on and with all the assurances that they have given us, with the office of the NSA promising to coordinate everything, so every discussion we have had here, I mean if you can see us, how many of us are here? We need to take it (the discussions) back, we’ll look at it, we’ll examine it and make a decision.”

Like the previous day, the strike had grounded government and economic activities across the country. At the National Assembly complex for the greater part of yesterday. As early as 7 am on Wednesday, all the gates leading into the National Assembly were opened by officials of the Parliamentary Staff Association of Nigeria (PASAN), in compliance with the strike order.

Staff, legislative aides and journalists, had arrived at the National Assembly early in the morning, so to gain access into the complex, before NLC officials enforcing the strike arrived at the parliament, were locked out until 1.30 pm, when one of the gates was opened.

The Sokoto State chapter of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) has commended its members who adhered to the union’s directive for an indefinite nationwide strike.

The chapter’s vice chairman, Mr. Abdullahi Yabo, commended the high level of compliance while monitoring the strike with leaders from the NLC and Trade Union Congress (TUC) in the state.

“Although there was limited compliance observed yesterday, today tells a different story,

“As such, we strongly advise all civil servants to ensure complete compliance, as this action serves the greater good of all citizens,” he warned.

He emphasized that the strike was aimed at alleviating the economic hardships faced by the civil servants and society at large.

“This struggle is not for the personal interests of union leaders but a collective effort to address the challenges our members and society are enduring.

“Let’s resist the pressure, stay united, and support our union leaders’ resolution to achieve the positive outcomes we desire,” Yabo noted.

The Senate had alo urged labour to call off the ongoing national strike in the interest of the country.

This followed the adoption of a motion “On need for NLC to reconsider its stand on the ongoing strike” by Opeyemi Bamidela.

Presenting the motion, Bamidele said it was worrisome that most of the demands of the labour on the strike were not targeted at the welfare of Nigerian workers but essentially arising from the alleged political involvement of the president, who hailed from Imo.

In a separate motion, the House of Representatives also appealed to the NLC and its affiliates to suspend the strike to enable the leadership of the National Assembly to intervene in the issues between it and the executive arm of government.

•You lack sufficient information, TUC replies to Oshiomhole

Festus Osifo, president of the Trade Union Congress (TUC), says Adams Oshiomhole does not have enough information on the ongoing strike called by organised labour.

Speaking in an interview on Channels Television on Wednesday, Osifo said Oshiomhole, the senator representing Edo north, commented on the strike based on information passed from the presidential villa.

On Tuesday, the former Edo governor, while addressing journalists at the presidential villa, said the ongoing strike is politically motivated.

Oshiomhole, a former president of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), asked organised labour to prioritise the rights of workers rather than engage in politics.

During the interview, Osifo said Oshiomhole was busy with national politics, adding that the former NLC president should have reached out to union leaders for facts.

The TUC president said Ajaero did not travel to Imo state on November 1 to entertain political issues.

“Our senior comrade, Adams Oshiomhole, is giving opinion based on the information he has.”

“Today, he is a senator who is busy with national politics. I think he does not have sufficient information, maybe later we will give him as much information as possible, once he reaches out.

“He went to the villa to meet with them. That is the information that was given to him in the villa. Has he spoken to Joe Ajaero and senior labour leaders in the country to have their opinion?

“Maybe the information he (Oshiomhole) got from the villa was that he (Ajaero) went there to play politics. But I will tell him clearly that was not the case.”


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