Labour suspends nationwide strike After Ribadu-led Truce

Leaders of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and the Trade Union Congress of Nigeria (TUC) Wednesday agreed to suspend the nationwide strike which commenced Tuesday.

The suspension followed the meeting between the labour leaders and the National Security Adviser (NSA), Nuhu Ribadu.

 Following the truce, the two unions had an emergency visual joint meeting where the decision was arrived at.

A source told Blueprint that “the NEC-in-session agreed to suspend the industrial action following a plea by the National Security Adviser (NSA) Malam Nuhu Ribadu.”

According to the source, “the joint NEC meeting of the organized Labour said the workers agreed to give Malam Ribadu benefit of doubt as he pledged to resolve the impasse.

“A circular to that effect will soon be issued,” Blueprint further gathered.

The industrial action followed the physical assault unleashed on the NLC President, Joe Ajaero, in Owerri,  Imo state last week.

Official activities in many states and the FCT were grounded as workers joined in the industrial action. 

The truce

Fielding questions from journalists Wednesday after the Ribadu-led truce in Abuja, Minister of Labour and Employment  Simon Lalong said representatives of the federal government and the labour leaders had a fruitful engagement.

“The meeting was in respect of the incident that happened in Imo and the meeting came under very heavy security considerations, that’s why we brought the meeting to the office of the National Security Adviser.

“All the Labour leaders were also here with us, we had very fruitful discussions, which were very genuine and very frank, which they have agreed to take back home to their constituents, with a plea to lift the strike so that we can continue with our deliberations,” he said.

Asked how soon the strike would be called off, the minister said: “That’s left for the Labour to decide, but from the discussions, we don’t expect the strike to last long again.”

“We just came for a meeting the NSA invited us for and as you can see, the two ministers from the Ministry of Labour and Employment also participated.

“So, we had some robust conversations where a lot of assurances were given, in furtherance to the release that was done this morning by the NSA that some people have been apprehended and that they will coordinate the investigation.

“We also told him our part of the story and all, but at the end of the day, they made several appeals to us and several promises on what they were going to do and the ones that they have already done.

“So, we said we’ll go back to reappraise the conversations that we have had and we’ll communicate accordingly.

“The strike was caused by something, it’s a symptom of a problem and it’s a problem that we came here now to have conversations on and with all the assurances that they have given us, with the office of the NSA promising to coordinate everything.

“So, every discussion we have had here, I mean if you can see us, how many of us are here? We need to take it (the discussions) back, we’ll look at it, we’ll examine it and take a decision,” he said.

Senate begs 

 And prior to the suspension of the strike, the Senate had, Wednesday, appealed to the organized labour to call off the ongoing strike.

The Red Chamber also asked its leadership to immediately summon an emergency meeting with the labour leaders to address the issue. 

 The resolutions followed a motion by Senator Abdul Ningi (PDP, Bauchi) during plenary. 

In the motion, which was presented by Senate Leader, Michael Opeyemi Bamidele, the Bauchi lawmaker condemned the attack on Ajaero, describing it as unfortunate. 

He said the NLC president had the constitutional rights as a Nigerian and Imo citizen, to be involved in the electioneering in the state, and that it was wrong to brutalize him for participating in the process. 

 He said: “The Senate is aware that the strike which has commenced since 14th of November 2023 is not unconnected with the alleged assault on the President of the Nigeria Labour Congress during the electioneering campaign that took place in Imo State. 

“The Senate worries that most of the demands of the NLC are not targeted towards just the welfare of the Nigerian workers but essentially targeted most essentially at issues arising from the alleged political involvement of the President of the NLC, who also is an indigene and also have a right to a part of the campaign process in Imo State.”

The lawmaker said it was established there was indeed an assault on Ajaero while freely participating in the political campaign process of Imo as a citizen of the state.

 He expressed worry that if the strike was allowed to continue, Nigerians would be the worst for it and it could lead to a total collapse of the economy.


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