The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) has issued a strong warning of a potential nationwide indefinite strike starting from August 14th. This move comes as a response to a contempt charge brought against the NLC and the Trade Union Congress (TUC) by the Federal Government, following their involvement in a strike.
The NLC, during its National Executive Council (NEC) meeting, called for the withdrawal of the contempt charge. This meeting was held to assess the outcomes of the recent nationwide protest and its impact. The NLC acknowledged the widespread suffering and hardships experienced by citizens across all states of the country.
In the midst of this situation, the NLC leadership engaged in discussions with President Bola Tinubu and other prominent figures. Concrete agreements were reached, including a commitment to promptly restructure the approach to addressing the consequences of the price increase of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS). Additionally, assurances were given regarding the initiation of production at the Port Harcourt Refinery by December and the commitment to reaching an agreement on wage awards for Nigerian workers. Furthermore, a viable roadmap for the use of Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) was promised to be unveiled in the coming week.
However, the NLC expressed its disappointment with the Federal Ministry of Justice’s actions, which it perceives as an attempt to undermine democratic principles and stifle the voices of Nigerian workers. The Ministry has initiated a contempt of court charge against the NLC and TUC leadership despite constitutional provisions and prevailing realities.
Following the NEC meeting, the NLC made the following resolutions:
- Suspend further protest on the nationwide mass protest.
- Maintain vigilance to hold the government accountable and ensure the fulfillment of assurances.
- Set a deadline of August 19, 2023, for resolving issues related to the petroleum price hike.
- Be prepared to go on a total strike if summoned to court by the government.
- Demand the immediate withdrawal of the contempt charge before August 11, 2023.
- Plan for a comprehensive nationwide strike commencing on August 14, 2023, if the contemptuous court summons remain unresolved.
The NLC commended the effective coordination of the protest and urged all affiliates, state councils, and civil society allies to remain focused and vigilant.
Earlier, the Federal Government had filed a contempt proceeding against NLC and TUC, accusing them of violating a June 5, 2023, court order from the National Industrial Court. The court had restrained the organizations from engaging in any form of strike until the Motion on Notice dated June 5, 2023, was heard on June 19, 2023.
The NLC and TUC officials were notified of potential contempt consequences if they did not adhere to the court’s directives outlined in the attached order.
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