The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) has issued a stern warning that it may initiate an immediate nationwide strike without prior notice to the Federal Government if the proposed fuel price of N720 is implemented.
The warning was conveyed by NLC President, Comrade Joe Ajaero, during the ongoing African Alliance of Trade Unions meeting in the capital city.
In light of the ongoing negotiations and the necessity for adequate measures to be established, Ajaero emphasized the Congress’s unwavering commitment to safeguarding the interests of workers and the general populace. He highlighted that any potential surge in fuel prices, without the resolution of ongoing negotiations and the implementation of supporting measures, would trigger a resolute response from the NLC.
Ajaero urgently called upon the Federal government to reevaluate the economic policies responsible for stagnating wage growth and inflation. He stressed that addressing these concerns was of paramount importance to ensure the welfare of workers and to preclude further economic instability.
“The repercussions of the last two fuel price hikes remain unaddressed, yet there are discussions about another potential increase,” Ajaero remarked. “Under these circumstances, Nigerian workers will not issue a strike notice. The government must address the aftermath of previous price hikes before considering any further adjustments.”
Ajaero further underscored the critical need to rectify detrimental economic policies that have contributed to inflation and currency devaluation. He entreated the government to focus on policies capable of stabilizing the economy and alleviating the hardships faced by millions of Nigerians trapped in poverty.
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“The prevailing inflation rates and currency devaluation have plunged over 133 million Nigerians into poverty. These are the pressing issues demanding the government’s attention,” Ajaero asserted. “Wage increases would be ineffectual if inflation persists in eroding their value.”
The NLC President also expressed concerns about the intrusion of the Inspector General of Police into matters concerning labor unions and workers’ rights. Ajaero called for the Ministry of Labour to retain sole jurisdiction in addressing inter and intra-union disputes. He criticized recent actions implying police interference with the ministry’s responsibilities.
“We demand an apology from the Inspector General of Police for unjustified actions against the National Union of Road Transport Workers,” Ajaero stated. “Such interference is detrimental to the harmony between workers and authorities.”
Ajaero reaffirmed the NLC’s willingness to collaborate with the government while upholding the interests of Nigerian workers, while also asserting the importance of respecting the distinct roles of various governmental entities.
The warning issued by the NLC underscores the organization’s steadfast commitment to preserving workers’ rights and economic stability amidst potential fuel price hikes and ongoing economic challenges. As negotiations persist, the nation awaits further developments on this matter.