The Nigerian Labour Congress, or NLC, denied on Thursday that it had made any agreements with the federal government to put a halt to the scheduled indefinite strike, which was set to start on October 3.
Recall that on Tuesday, the NLC and the Trade Union Congress of Nigeria, or TUC, announced that workers would go on an indefinite strike until the government provided palliatives to mitigate the effects of removing the petrol subsidy.
Some media outlets stated that there had been an agreement between organised labour and the government to put the planned walkout on hold, according to Mr. Olajide Oshundun, the ministry’s director of press.
Though, Oshundun had since denied saying any such, the NLC said there was no agreement whatsoever and that the government has not invited the union or given any date to meet with the union over the proposed strike.
NLC in a statement issued by its Head of Information and Public Affairs, Benson Upah, said, “The press statement issued by the Director of Press, Ministry of Labour and Employment, Mr Olajide Oshundun on our proposed strike action and illegal occupation of the secretariat of the National Union of Road Transport Workers has been brought to our attention. We note some inconsistencies.
“Accordingly, we find it necessary to make clarifications. Firstly, we do not have any agreement with the government to suspend the planned strike action. Neither do we have any date for a meeting with government that may lead to the suspension of the proposed strike.
“While we do not intend to demean or minimise the office of the Honourable Minister of Labour and Employment, this matter is beyond the Ministry. This should have been obvious to them during our most recent meeting.
“Secondly, while we appreciate the role played by the Honourable Minister of Labour and Employment, Barrister Simon Lalong in securing the release of the executives of the National Union of Road Transport Workers from unlawful/illegal police detention, we take exception to the Ministry describing these executives as factional leaders.
“They were lawfully elected into office. We still find it necessary to advise the police and those elements behind their travails to desist from this despicable and shameful conduct. They are advised to retrace their steps.
“If democracy is to be of meaning to us, then we should resist the urge or temptation for impunity. Enough is enough.”