The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), on Sunday, September 27, stated that it would go ahead with its scheduled strike with respect to the recent increase in electricity tariff and the removal of petrol subsidy.
This stance by the NLC comes in the wake of a closed-door meeting; between the NLC and the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila.
Gbajabiamila had met with the NLC earlier on Sunday at the National Assembly Complex in Abuja; in order to broker an amicable solution to the impasse between Organised Labour and the Federal Government (FG).
In his comments to newsmen after the meeting, NLC President Ayuba Wabba said the proposed strike by the union will proceed unless the FG addresses the issues.
Wabba said the organization has not been served with a court order and cannot speak on it.
He said, “We have had a useful discussion with the leadership of the House of Representatives. We have shared our concerns and challenges with him (Gbajabiamila); especially the very challenges of the implication of the hike in the tariff of electricity and the (petrol) pump price. Also, we told him how the discussions with the Federal Government went and how the meeting was adjourned.
“He has also promised to try to intervene at his own level, to see to it that we don’t inflict more pains on Nigerians. And in the course of the discussion, we have also realised that the House of Reps has done a lot on this issue; including recommendation to government which we have shared mutually.
“But the bottom line is that we want this burden that has now been shifted to Nigerians as consumers; to also be lifted so that we can have a decent life.”
He, however, noted that there is a judgement of a Federal High court stopping the increase of electricity tariff which the FG has refused to obey.
When asked if the organised labour would still go ahead with the strike as planned, Wabba said, “If the issues are not addressed; you’re aware that we’ve given a notice; and that notice will certainly expire by tomorrow; all the actions we have pronounced will certainly take effect.”
However, Gbajabiamila said Labour cannot go on a strike in good conscience; as the consequences will be dire on Nigerians who will feel the hardship caused by the industrial action.
He stated that the House of Representatives shares the same thoughts; as well as philosophy with the NLC as regards the plight of workers; and the House of Reps championed the cause of free electricity; and had advised that the hike in tariff be put in effect from 2021.
Nevertheless, the Speaker said he worries about the consequences of the strike; and what will be achieved at the end.