The National Economic Council (NEC) has appealed to the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and the Trade Union Congress (TUC) to shelve their planned nationwide strike.
The NEC, presided over by Vice President Kashim Shettima made the appeal during its 136th meeting held on Thursday inside the Council Chamber of the Presidential Villa in Abuja.
The NEC is constitutionally headed by the Vice President, with State governors, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Governor, amongst others as members.
The NEC on Thursday urged members to prevail on organised labour unions to shelve proposed industrial action.
Recall the organised labour comprising of the NLC and the TUC on Tuesday said their strike is set to commence on October 3.
The unions announced that workers will proceed on indefinite strike over the government’s failure to provide palliatives to cushion the effect of the removal of subsidy on petrol.
Briefing newsmen after the NEC meeting, the Governor of Plateau State, Caleb Mutfwang, said the council asked Labour leaders to resume negotiations at the state level.
According to him, the council believes dialogue can still be used to resolve the industrial dispute.
Governor Mutfwang said: “Council noted the notice by the national leadership of the Nigerian Labour Congress to proceed on an indefinite strike from October 3, 2023. The Council noted further the implication of this strike for the economy and the nation and thus urged members to continue to engage with the leadership of their respective states and to appeal to them to shelve the action and continue on the path of dialogue with the federal government. This is the appeal of Council.”
Furthermore, the Governor expressed optimism that President Bola Tinubu would address some of the labour demands in his Independence Day speech to Nigerians.
He said: “NEC actually expressed genuine concern on the situation in the country and appreciates the concern by Labour to have those issues addressed. That is why NEC is appealing for patience, appealing for time to be able to address the concerns of Labour. We also believe that Mr. President will be addressing the nation first of October and some of the concerns of Labour will be appropriately addressed in the President’s speech.
It is therefore important that… it’s a federation, so whatever happens, Labour is represented in all 36 states and the FCT and NEC are appealing that discussions should continue at the state levels because there will be peculiarities as to the issues to be addressed concerning the demands of Labour, therefore dialogue is the way to go.
The nation is at a very critical moment at this time, in some of the states, when they took over on May 29, the workers were on strike, some of those issues have just been resolved for the workers to return to work. To ask them to go back immediately, it’s going to further damage the economy.
Therefore NEC, while expressing genuine concern about the situation in the country, appeals for calm and patience and I want to believe that the leadership across the nation at this point in time wants to truly address the issues that concern Labour and the general populace and move the country forward.”