- The South-West and Northern state chapters of the NLC are reported to have resolved to pull out of the planned strike due to the alleged politicization of the action that is in protest against the removal of the petrol subsidy.
- APC through one of its spokespersons had accused Joe Ajaero and other labour leaders of playing politics with the petrol subsidy removal and attempting to destabilise the newly inaugurated government with the planned strike.
- The NLC had intensified its mobilization for the planned strike action with a letter to its affiliates to inform them of the planned action.
There are reports that the planned nationwide strike for Wednesday by the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) has been hit with a setback as the union appears divided with the South-West and the Northern states’ chapters pulling out of the proposed industrial action.
According to Thisday, members of the Labour union in the South-West and Northern states have resolved to pull out of the planned industrial action due to the alleged politicization of the strike that is in protest against the removal of petrol subsidies which has led to a spike in the price of the product.
APC accused the NLC President and others of politicizing strike action
Meanwhile, the All Progressive Congress (APC) through one of its spokespersons, Bayo Onanuga, had accused the NLC President, Joe Ajaero, and members of the TUC of playing politics with the petrol subsidy removal and attempting to destabilise the newly inaugurated government with the planned strike.
Onanuga in a statement on his official Twitter account asked Nigerians to ignore Ajaero’s call for a strike as he was privy to the fact that the government was going to remove the subsidy and was playing politics with the decision to go on strike.
- He said, “The politically-tainted NLC, TUC, and NLC President, Joe Ajaero have asked workers to go on strike next Wednesday over the removal of petrol subsidy, despite being privy to the distressing financial figures, which justified why subsidy ought to have been scrapped a long time ago.
- “My advice to the perceptive workers and the Nigerian populace is simply to ignore Ajaero and his ilk. He is playing politics and is acting the script of the opposition Labour Party, out to destabilise the young Tinubu’s administration.
- “Besides, one wonders whose interest Ajaero is championing, when he did not oppose the position of his Labour Party and presidential candidate, who campaigned with the promise to scrap subsidy from Day One if elected. NLC and TUC leaders knew since last November that the subsidy will be scrapped from July 1 as no provision has been made in the budget for it, beyond this date.
- “The federal government, which already commits 96 per cent of its revenue in servicing debt, is not in any position to continue selling subsidized fuel, most of which is smuggled across our borders for criminal and obscenely unpatriotic profit.
- “Subsidy of fuel is no longer unsustainable as the federal government is virtually broke. Apart from its N77 trillion debt, it also owes NNPC Limited about N2.4 trillion for past subsidies. The Nigerian people and workers should support the government as it works out new wages and rolls out other interventions, as promised by President Tinubu, to mitigate the effects of the new fuel price.
- “Let’s not make ourselves pawns in the hands of the politically biased and tainted NLC and TUC. Ajaero is no longer a labour leader. He is a politician and leader of the Labour Party. He is no more representing all the Nigerian workers.’’
NLC under pressure
Since the NLC announced its plans to go on strike over the petrol subsidy removal, the union and the leaders of the organized labour have come under criticism from some groups and some individuals, saying that they should rather negotiate with the government.
The factional National Publicity Secretary of the Labour Party, Abayomi Arabambi, accused the labour leaders of playing politics with the planned strike after supporting the presidential candidate of the Labour Party, Peter Obi, who said he was going to remove petrol subsidy immediately after he resumes office as president if elected.
He asked them to apologize to Nigerians for not speaking against the removal of the petrol subsidy but accepting it during the presidential campaigns rather than running after the president who has just been sworn in.
Also, the apex umbrella body of all Yoruba indigenous people, Yoruba Council Worldwide (YCW) has described the bid to embark on strike action by the NLC over the removal of fuel subsidy by the Federal Government as an act of economic sabotage.
NLC mobilizes, writes to affiliates
Meanwhile, the NLC had intensified its mobilization for the planned strike action with a letter to its affiliates to inform them of the planned action.
The NLC in a letter signed by its General Secretary, Emmanuel Ugboaja, said,
- “We bring you greetings from the leadership of the Nigeria Labour Congress. You will recall that arising from the National Executive Council meeting held on June 2, 2023, it was decided that Congress will embark on a nationwide action and withdrawal of services, against the fraudulent increase in the prices of fuel across the thirty-six states of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and the FCT.
- “Please be informed that the nationwide action will commence on Wednesday, June 7, 2023. To this effect, all national leaders are expected to mobilize their members for the action and ensure full compliance with the directives as services in both the public and private sectors are expected to be fully withdrawn by Wednesday, June 7, 2023.
- All Presidents and General Secretaries are expected to help ensure the implementation of the decisions of the National Executive Council.’’