The Trade Union Congress of Nigeria (TUC) has shed light on the circumstances around the two-week warning strike initiated by the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) two weeks ago, saying it did not agree to participate in the first instance.
Addressing the seemingly frosty relationship with the sister association during Monday’s edition of Channels Television’s Politics Today, NLC President Ajaero argued that the TUC could not back out of an industrial action that it did not call.
“The NLC will not take under our watch if we give a strike notice and then a union that didn’t give a strike notice says they are backing out of a strike that they didn’t call for,” he asserted.
But TUC President Festus Osifo, in a follow-up interview on Tuesday, rejected the notion that it had shared any intention to go ahead with the strike.
“No, we never backed out from the strike we did not call,” he said.
Osifo explained that before announcing a strike, the protocol is for one union to reach out to the other for a conversation, leading to strategies between both.
“In that plan, there are a lot of things that are looked at. You define your clear-cut strategy; you define the timing. You define how you’re going to isolate the downtrodden Nigerians. All these things are defined before both parties will now come and announce a strike action,” the TUC president said.
“But in this case, I can authoritatively tell you that TUC was never contacted in any way. It was the same way Nigerians saw it in the media that there was a warning strike on so-and-so day. So, when we saw it, we were amazed.”
According to Osifo, enquiries on members’ group chats necessitated action from the union’s leadership, including its National Administrative Council (NAC), Central Working Committee (CWC), and National Executive Council (NEC).
“Some of our officers were detailed to follow up but there was no clear-cut response. In our organ meetings, we X-rayed the issues from the beginning to the end. We looked at the issues of the time and strategy; we looked at everything holistically,” Osifo said.
“After looking at it, TUC felt that there was no time for TUC to go on strike. You will renege when there is a plan. So, if both parties agree to do something and one party now says, ‘No, I am no longer doing it,’ that is when you backtrack.”