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.Mobilise members for daily protest
.As Reps Speaker begs organised labour to be patient with FG to address demands
By AKOR SYLVESTER and Jonas Ezieke,Abuja
The organised labour has declared indefinite nationwide strike over government’s failure to address it’s demands bordering on welfare and the hardship slammed on Nigerians following the removal of fuel subsidy by President Bola Tinubu.
It said that, after the 21-day ultimatum and the 2-day warning strike it embarked iupon to push home it’s demands, the federal government has remained adamant over the issues brought before it, as the masses continue to suffer
But rising from the National Executive Councils (NEC) of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and Trade Union Congress of Nigeria (TUC), the organised labour resolved to embark on an indefinite and total shutdown of the nation beginning on zero hours Tuesday, the 3rd day of October, 2023.
It equally directed all workers in Nigeria to withdraw their services from their respective workplaces commencing from the 3rd of October.
The organised labour also directed all affiliates and state councils to immediately start mobilizing accordingly for action to organize street protests and rallies until Government responds positively to their demands
It therefore enjoined all patriotic Nigerians to join hands across the nation to assist the government put the people back at the centre of its policies and programmes.
While stating that in the spirit of the Independence Day celebration and to demonstrate workers resolve for a truly independent Nigeria to take their destinies in their own hands and rescue the nation, the labour union said the strike will continue until government attends to the issues before it.
The communique of the NEC meeting signed by NLC president, Comrade Joe Ajaero and the TUC president, Comrade Festus Osifo, deeply analyzed the current situation in the country, taking into cognisance the extensive hardships and deprivation afflicting the citizens across all states of the federation and unanimously condemned the apparent conscious lethargy and tardiness in handling the consequences of its Petrol Price hike on Nigerians.
It further reads in part: “The councils deliberated on the continued refusal of the federal Government to engage in a meaningful and constructive dialogue within the ambits of good faith given the 21 days ultimatum and the subsequent successful 2-Day nationwide warning strike of the 5th and 6th of September and other meetings that were supposed to demonstrate the preparedness of Nigerian workers to push through their decision to embark on an indefinite nationwide strike if their demands were not met.
“To this end, the NLC and TUC NEC-in-session observed that whereas: There is no disagreement between Labour and Government on the existence of massive suffering, impoverishment and hunger in the country as a result of the hike in the price of Petrol which demands an urgent need for remedial action.
“The Government has totally abdicated this responsibility and has shown gross unwillingness to act abandoning Nigerian people and workers to excruciating poverty and affliction.
“The federal government has continued to grandstand and forestall all avenues to peaceful dialogue with organized labour on ways to save Nigerians from the huge hunger and suffering experienced across the nation as a result of the unconscionable hike in the price of Petrol (PMS) by the Government.
“The Government has continued to demonstrate not just an unwillingness to mitigate the massive hardship in the country but also a complete lack of intention to take positive steps and empathy for the multi-dimensionally impoverished citizens of Nigeria.
“The federal Government has therefore not met in any substantial way, the demands of Nigerian workers and peoples as previously canvassed in our mutually agreed roadmap to salvaging the economy and protecting workers and Nigerians from the monumental hardship.
“The grace period given by the two labour centres having expired. Trade unions continue to face severe threat from the State via the brutal and suppressive power of the Police and Government.
“The National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW) continues to be illegally occupied by the Government via the instrumentally of the Police who have cloned the leadership of NURTW.
“The Road Transport Employers Association of Nigeria (RTEAN) continues to be illegally occupied by the Lagos state government in total disregard to the Courts and the statutes.
“That the State within the life of the ultimatum via the Police has caused loss of lives and properties with untold injuries on Nigerian workers who were on their way to go back to their Union’s national Headquarters in Abuja.
“That the State has continued to blackmail and sponsor serious campaign of calumny against trade union leaders in the social media using its buying and coercive powers instead of making efforts to lift the burden on the masses”,.NLC Strike: Speaker Begs NLC to Exercise Patient as Govt Works Out Strategise to Address Demands
The Speaker of the House of Representatives Hon.Tajdeen Abbas has appealed to the Nigerian Labour Congress, NLC to reconsider its position and suspend the proposed Strike Action plan as doing it would create more crisis and jeopardize ongoing efforts to renegotiate a new minimum wage for the workers.
“He said that he would like to appeal to the Congress to consider the various actions being taken by the Federal Government to alleviate the current hardship faced by Nigerians”.
The Speaker, Hon. Tajudeen Abbas made the appeal yesterday in his remarks while welcoming members back from a two- Months recess at the green chamber of the National Assembly.
The speaker further informed the workers union to remains calm and committed to getting a survival wage to all Nigerians workers as government is not unaware of the current hash economic situation in the country.
According to the Speaker, the 10th House of Representatives is working tirelessly to ensuring an active and successful interfacing between the organized labour and the government to quickly work out a realistic new national minimum wage that will ensure equal palliatives to enable citizens cope with the current hash economic atmosphere caused by the fuel subsidy removal as well as the downward fall of the naira to the dollar leading to skyrocketing cost of food items and general cost of living in the country.
He said: “It is in our considered opinion that embarking on a nationwide strike at this point will only aggravate an already bad situation. I therefore urge the leadership of Labour Unions to give us the benefit of doubt and suspend any planned strike action while we engage the federal government”.
“It is with a renewed sense of purpose and dedication to the peoples’ work that I am excited to warmly welcome each and every one of you back to the Peoples’ House. I hope that each one of you had a rejuvenating time with your loved ones, and that you return to this esteemed chamber with renewed energy and determination to serve the people who have placed their trust in us.
“We must always remember the immense responsibility we hold as Representatives of the people and the compelling duty we have to serve our great nation”.
While thanking God Almighty for bringing lawmakers back safely from the break, he noted that many of them had expected to resume plenary in the main Chamber after the recess.
The speaker However, used the opportunity to remind fellow lawmakers of the ongoing renovation work at the permanent chamber while he also promised quick completion assuring that they hope to resume plenary at the permanent Chambers by early next year, 2024.
“I plead with you to continue to endure the inconveniences of this ad-hoc arrangement as delivering service to our constituents is our utmost priority at this time”.
The Speaker also expressed the hope that his colleagues during the break had great opportunities to interact with their constituents stressing that such an opportunity usually provide lawmakers with amble avenues to engage with your constituents by listening to their concerns, hopes, and aspirations.
Lawmakers according to the speaker supposed to carry out interactions by their constituents noting that such could provide an avenue to understand the impact of their decisions on the lives of people they represent which he identified as primary duty of lawmakers.
He lamented that during the recess, lawmakers also got information about several challenging situations in the country but used the opportunity to reaffirmed the 10th House of Representatives collective responsibility to addressing those challenges with wisdom, integrity, and a commitment to the betterment of our society.
He said “the people have placed their trust in us, and it is our duty to honour that trust by working diligently towards their welfare. Thus, as we resume our legislative duties today, it is crucial that we prioritize the needs of our constituents. We must remain steadfast in our commitment to promoting good governance, ensuring social justice, and fostering economic growth. Our decisions should be guided by a deep understanding of the issues at hand and a genuine desire to improve the lives of those we represent”.
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