The Organised Private Sector of Nigeria (OPSN) has urged President Bola Tinubu’s government and the Nigeria Labour Congress to factor in the well-being of more than 200 million Nigerians and avert the strike planned for October.
It said the two should work together in the interest of the nation’s economy, which the strike could jeopardise.
On Tuesday, the NLC and the Trade Union Congress (TUC) declared they would go on strike starting October 3. The declaration followed the expiration of a 21-day ultimatum earlier given to Mr Tinubu’s government to provide palliatives to alleviate the effects of fuel subsidy removal on Nigerians.
Segun Ajayi-Kadir, director-general of the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN), reacted to the unions’ declaration on behalf of the OPSN.
OPSN is the umbrella body of MAN, the Nigerian Association of Chambers of Commerce, Industries, Mines, and Agriculture, and the Nigeria Employers Consultative Association. Other members are the Nigerian Association of Small and Medium Enterprises and the Nigerian Association of Small-Scale Industrialists.
Mr Ajayi-Kadir reiterated OPSN’s earlier advice to avert the looming disruption of socioeconomic activities and noted that current economic indicators in the country do not support a strike.
“The view of the OPSN is that of deep concern, if not that of anxiety. We have keenly watched the back-and-forth consultations between the government on the one hand and labour on the other,” stated MAN’s director-general.
He added, “It is evident that the series of consultations have not yielded positive results, and the latter has resolved, in one way or another, to go ahead with the strike.”
Mr Ajayi-Kadir “worried that adequate consideration is not given to the dire situation of the economy and the devastating and disruptive impact that a nationwide strike will have on the country at this time,” urging parties concerned “to understand that our economy is being de-marketed” and the constant bickering is diminishing the livelihood of the average Nigerian.
Ajayi-Kadir said, “One is beginning to wonder if the well-being of more than 200 million Nigerians is being factored into their negotiations.”
The MAN director-general urged the government to reengage labour and find amicable ground to avert the imminent disruption to business activities that would attend the protest and nationwide strike.
He appealed that adequate consideration be given to the grim state of the economy and the possible unintended consequences of social unrest that might result from the strike.
Mr Ajayi-Kadir also advised manufacturers to be circumspect in their business operations as the association continued to intervene in last-minute attempts to avert the strike.
“Adequate measures should be taken to protect companies’ assets, and contingency plans should be made to keep businesses afloat. Government should demonstrate good faith in keeping to its promises during the negotiations with labour and abstain from making promises they cannot or do not intend to keep,” Mr Ajayi-Kadir explained.