*NLC, TUC, others insist on planned nationwide strike
*Decry delay in reversing hikes in fuel price, electricity tariff
*Warn FG not to ambush the unions with court order
*Suspend your plan, tarry a while, Gbajamiamila pleads
Barring unforeseen circumstances, the nationwide strike which Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC and its affiliates plan to carry out today over hike in price of petrol, electricity tariff among other demands, will hold.
It will be recalled that the two unions had last week when their meeting with the Ministry of Labour and Productivity was deadlocked, resolved to embark on nationwide strike and protest against the increases.
Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon, Femi Gbajabiamila had in a desperate move to avert the strike, met with the leadership of both NLC and TUC but the parties could not reach any concrete agreement.
In his opening remarks, Speaker Gbajabiamila had pleaded with the organised labour to shelve the planned strike, stressing that it would not be in the interest of Nigerians, asking that the unions tarry a while even if it is for only one week.
“We can’t do this. We can’t go on strike. We should think of the consequences. The people will suffer the most. Let us mediate and see.
“We need to be flexible on this matter. Our worry is the outcome. What are we going to achieve at the end? Rarely do governments globally reverse policy decisions.”
He continued: “We need to be flexible on this matter. Our worry is the outcome. What are we going to achieve at the end? We are expecting the 2021 budget soon and palliatives have been provided in it to cushion the effects of these policies. We can achieve more with a little patience,” the Speaker pleaded.
However, while speaking with journalists after the meeting, NLC President, Comrade Ayuba Wabba and his TUC counterpart, Comrade Quadri Olaleye condemned the federal government’s delay in reversing the increases as demanded.
“In the course of discussion, we also realised that the House of Representatives led by Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila has done a lot on the issue including recommendations which they have shared mutually,” Wabba disclosed.
Also in a statement, Secretary General of NLC, Mr. Emmanuel Ugboaja insisted that the unions would go ahead with the strike and asked members to mobilise for the protest.
However, Head of the Federal Civil Service, Folasade Yemi-Esan has warned federal civil servants not to take part in the planned strike.
On the issue of court order restricting the unions from embarking on strike, the NLC President said they have not been served with any restraining order from any court in respect of the planned strike and warned the federal government not to ambush them with court action.
“There is a valid judgement of the Federal High Court stopping the tariff increase and that judgement is still subsisting,” the NLC President said.
It will also be recalled that the National Industrial Court, NIC in Abuja had granted an order of interim injunction restraining the unions from embarking on the strike, pending the hearing and determination of a motion before it.
Meanwhile, no fewer than 50 labour organisations have written to their members to mobilise for the exercise which officially begins by 12 midnight Sunday.
In various letters sighted by Nigerian Pilot, the affiliate unions advised their members to fully participate in the strike and protest, reminding them however to shun any act that could lead to breakdown of law and order.
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