Labour Unions suspend strike after meeting with President Tinubu

Suspension of Nationwide Strike: Labour Unions Return to Dialogue

Labour Unions suspend strike after meeting with President Tinubu

The organized labour in Nigeria has suspended its nationwide strike against the removal of fuel subsidy after meeting with President Bola Ahmed Tinubu. The decision to suspend the strike was made based on the President’s pledge and commitment. The Labour leaders were able to extract some commitments on the issues raised during the meeting for immediate implementation. The strikes held across major cities in Nigeria successfully forced Tinubu to meet with union leaders and promise to expedite an agreement on a new minimum wage. Talks will continue, and a major oil refinery is set to start processing fuel by December.

24 hours after embarking on a nationwide protest against the removal of fuel subsidy, the organized labour has suspended its strike, according to President of the Trade Union Congress (TUC) Festus Osifo.

The TUC president announced the decision during an interview with Arise news on Thursday morning.

According to him, the Labour leaders who had earlier met with President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, hours after the nationwide strike on Wednesday, have decided to return to dialogue “On the strength of the President’s pledge and commitment.”

NLC Protesters

Members of the Nigerian Labour Union, holding flags and placards, march during a protest against fuel price hikes and rising costs, in Abuja, Nigeria August 2, 2023. REUTERS

Osifo said the labour Unions extracted some commitments to some of the issues raised during the meeting for immediate implementation explaining that the suspension of the strike was based on the aforementioned.

In an earlier publication by Reuters, “The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) said the marches across major Nigerian cities were successful enough to force Tinubu to meet union leaders and vow to expedite an agreement on a new minimum wage among other promises.”

The report added that, “Tinubu’s spokesman, Dele Alake, said labour movement leaders had agreed to suspend their strike while talks continued, adding the president had promised that a major oil refinery under rehabilitation in southern Nigeria would start processing fuel by December, likely reducing petrol prices.”

On Wednesday, 2 August, while the NLC staged protests across the nation, the leadership of the Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC, in Benue state disclosed that “majority of Nigerians have developed high blood pressure as a result of the untold hardship and suffering that followed the removal of petrol subsidy by the present administration.”

This was according to the Chairman of the Action and Implementation Committee of the organised Labour rally in Benue state, Comrade Aloysius Umaja who addressed protesting workers and Governor Hyacinth Alia at the Benue Government House gate in Makurdi.

According to Umaja, the removal of subsidy without any measure in place to cushion the effect on the masses had plunged Nigerians into unimaginable poverty with most Nigerians unable to feed themselves.

He expressed disappointmemt with the current economic situation in the country after having trusted the president to make Nigeria better during his campaign days.

Comrade Umaja said, “We had a lot of juicy promises from Mr. President that after the removal of the subsidy, all is going to be well for us.

“When the subsidy was removed, we were all happy and jubilating but before we knew it, we began to see that there was no way we could even transport ourselves to our workplaces again. Even the government can also witness that people can no longer feed because prices have gone higher and as we stand now, majority of the people have developed High Blood Pressure.

“We can no longer breathe again so it is on that condition that the national leadership has directed that we have a peaceful protest to the government House for them to address us and send our messages to Nigerians because the problem we have here is not peculiar to Benue state but a national problem,” be added.

On his part, State Chairman of NLC, Comrade Terungwa Igbe appealed to the Federal Government to channel part of the money that it intended to distribute to rehabilitate its refineries in the country and stop the importation of petroleum products in order to drive down the pump price of fuel.

He noted that Nigerians were finding it extremely difficult to move from one point to another as the pump price of petrol had made it almost impossible for the free movement of goods and services from one point to the other in the country.

Addressing the protesters, the Benue State Governor, Rev. Fr. Hyacinth Alia, represented by his Chief of Staff, Mr. Paul Biam acknowledged the sufferings of Nigerians following the subsidy removal.


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