NLC Strike Over Petrol Price Hike Enters Day Three

NLC, Strike, PetrolThe ongoing industrial action of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) has lingered into the third day, as the labour union insists that the Federal Government must reverse the increase in the price of petrol.

In Osun State, the NLC members, the Joint Action Front and students of the Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU), Ile –Ife continued the peaceful protest, urging residents to reject the 145 Naira petrol pump price.

Commercial and other related activities in the ancient town went on as the protesters blocked the popular Lageere Roundabout, causing traffic for few hours whilst the protest lasted.

The workers comprising basically of members of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) and the Non-Academic Staff Unions of Universities in OAU, moved from the campus to Mayfair roundabout, distributing flyers to motorists and people on the street.

NLC, Strike, Petrol

Leading the protest, the Chairman of ASUU in OAU, Dr. Caleb Aborisahde, told Channels Television that the Federal Government must rescind its decision, else the industrial disharmony would continue indefinitely.

He also urged the Federal Government to build local refineries to make the petroleum product readily available to Nigerians.

In Abeokuta, the capital of Ogun State and some parts of the state in southwest Nigeria, the compliance level in the industrial action remained the same.

Human and vehicular activities were in top gear, as residents defied the stay at home order of the labour union.

While monitoring the exercise in Abeokuta, a member of the human rights groups, Yinka Folarin, blamed the Federal Government for allegedly orchestrating the division among the leadership of the organised labour unions.

Meanwhile, the old long queues at fuel stations across the metropolis before the introduction of the current 145 Naira per litre of Premium Motor Spirit popularly called petrol is fast disappearing as residents can now get the commodity at ease.

In Nigeria’s northern region, the NLC Chairman in Plateau State, Jibrin Bancir, and a member of the Civil Liberty Organisation, Steve Aluko, said that the union had continued to monitor proceedings at the state and the federal secretariats where the entrances were locked.NLC, Strike, Osun

However, secondary school students were going about their studies, as the Trade Union Congress were not part of the ongoing strike with only the primary schools under lock and key.

Meanwhile, the Federal Government had directed all ministers, permanent secretaries and heads of government agencies to invoke the provision of “no work no pay” on any staff who is absent from work.

While the Ayuba Waba led faction of the NLC insists on carrying on with the industrial action, the Joe Ajaero led faction had reached an agreement with the government to set up a committee to resolve agitations over the new pump price of petrol.

NLC Strike Deepens In Abuja As It Enters Day Two

Ayuba Waba, NLC, Strike, AbujaThe Ayuba Waba-led protest of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) in Abuja on Thursday gathered more momentum as it enters its second day.

This comes as the Federal Government issued circulars to ministries and parastatals, threatening to enforce the ‘no work no pay’ rule on any government worker who participates in the industrial action.

The protesting labour leaders insisted that they would not be deterred by such directives from the government, as the union and its allies marched through the highways in the Federal Capital Territory.

Waba, who is the President of NLC, urged members of the union and other stakeholders to be willing to make sacrifices for the struggle.

However, some workers complied with the Federal Government’s ‘no work to pay’ warning, as workers at the federal secretariat and the National Hospital resumed work.

The Vice President of NLC, Peter Adeyemi, and a member of a civil society organisation, Jaye Gaskia, said that the number of those who believe in their course would not stop them from achieving success.

It is not yet clear how far the protesting workers are ready to press home their demands.

Negotiation meetings between the workers union and the Federal Government on Tuesday had ended in a deadlock, as the leadership of the NLC under Waba walked out of the meeting.

However, government reached an agreement with another faction of the NLC led by Joe Ajaero, to set up a committee to resolve agitations over the new pump price of petrol.

NLC Strike: Our Group Is Not Being Used – Ajaero

AJaero, NLC StrikeThe factional leader of the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC), Mr Joe Ajaero, has dismissed the allegation that his faction of the union is being used to divide the NLC in order for government to have its way on the new petrol pump price.

Speaking on Channels Television’s Sunrise Daily on Thursday, Mr Ajaero critized the manner in which the Waba-led faction of the NLC has gone about the dialogue with the federal government over the issue.

He condemned the Waba group for making decisions affecting affiliate unions without consulting the leadership of those unions.

He added that the petroleum workers belong to his group of the NLC and were key players in the issue being debated, and would not have their interests misrepresented.

He admitted that the increase in petrol price was high at 145 Naira but there were different schools of thought, which includes the demand for palliatives, while some felt the President by his credibility deserved some trust.

 

Divided House

Mr Ajaero affirmed that the two factions of the NLC have been in existence since the 2015 election of the Nigeria Labour Congress. Although there have been efforts to reconcile them but these have not been successful.

He said that the decision of the government to negotiate with both factions of the union must have been because the issues at stake required that all stakeholders be involved.

He explained further, “The federal government realised that the issue at stake was petroleum and NUPENG made it clear that the other group cannot represent their interest, this is the NLC they belong to and they sent the invitation across.

“We got there in the spirit of joint leadership and the other group said they were not going to talk. I think we were the ones who carried ourselves to the federal government to show our division.

“Ordinarily if we had a unified position and carried it to the federal government, they would stand by it.”

Strike Will Expand As It Progresses, NLC Confident

NLC, Strike, Amechi AsugwuniThe leadership of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) are confident that their nationwide indefinite strike to protest fuel price hike announced by the Federal Government would achieve its purpose.

“The strike commenced this morning as I speak to you and as we progress on the indefinite strike, it will expand itself,” Vice President of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) Amechi Asugwuni, said on Channels TV’s Sunrise Daily.

Talks between the federal government and the Ayuba Wabba-led Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) had ended in a deadlock on Tuesday evening.

The NLC delegation to the meeting, led by its President, Mr Ayuba Wabba, walked out of the negotiation following the inability of the two parties to reach an agreement and thereafter told journalists that the strike would hold on Wednesday as planned.

This was after the National Industrial Court had restrained the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) from going on its planned strike, pending the hearing and determination of a suit brought before it by the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF), Abubakar Malami.

Mr Asugwuni, however, said that the NLC was unaware of any court order stopping it from embarking on strike.

He maintained that as far as they were concerned, the NLC had no case with the Federal Government at the Industrial Court and there has been no summon to the contrary.

Mr Asugwuni said that if there was anything of such, it would be communicated with due process followed and not based on newspaper headlines or an interview granted the media.

“If at all the AGF got the injunction as claimed, the truth of the matter is that it is total disrespect for dialogue.

“That is to tell you that even while they were with labour on the table, they had already started the court processes against our interest. So they were not sincere from the beginning,” he said.

He insisted that labour’s insistent on proceeding with the strike was in the interest of the people.

NLC Is One

Mr Asugwuni also argued that the Wabba-led faction of the NLC remains the legitimate NLC that should be recognised by the government and citizens.

“NLC is one in Nigeria. So when I see people talk about faction, they are trying to play down on Nigeria’s constitution.

“Looking at the Federal Government through the comrade governor, Adams Oshiomhole, giving recognition to an impersonator also looks criminal. As far as we are concerned, it must be discouraged.

He also questioned the credibility of the position held by the Ajaero-led faction of the NLC.

“I watched Ajaero talk and you can see his posture. It was a stage-managed interview trying to divide the opinion of people but they can’t stand.

“Nigerian Labour Congress is one and we have one office, one President who is Comrade Ayuba Wabba, and who is right there in his office.

“The just concluded May Day, the federal government was represented and they were there. So how can they turn back now? Because you want to divide the house, you start recognizing people you already know are neither here nor there.”

Kaduna Workers Defy NLC Strike Over Fuel Price Hike

Kaduna Workers, NLC Strike, Fuel PriceCivil servants in Kaduna State on Wednesday defied the order of the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) to stay at home in protest against the fuel price hike announced by the federal government.

The labour unions had issued a directive asking workers in both public and private sectors to shun their offices starting from Wednesday, May 18, 2016 in solidarity to the planned nationwide strike by the organized labour.

But rather than adhering to the directive, the workers resumed for duties in their various offices.

At the state secretariat complex along Independence Way, workers were seen in their offices as early as 7:30 in the morning.

Also, banks, schools, markets and other private establishments in the state capital opened  for normal business.

Those who spoke to our correspondent said that the strike is uncalled for. They called on the leadership of the NLC and TUC to amicably resolve all pending issues with Federal Government without embarking on a strike.

At the NLC state secretariat at Lafia road, only a handful of members were seen within the premises in their uniforms. The state chairman, Adamu Ango, was not available for comment, and none of the available was willing to speak to us.

NLC Strike: FG Warns ‘No Work No Pay’

SGF_Babachir_LawalThe federal government has advised all workers to respect the rule of law and desist from participating in an illegal strike.

Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Babachir Lawal, in a statement on Tuesday evening, said that the government will guarantee the safety of workers and their work places, and expects that normal work will continue in the interest of the nation.

Mr Lawal added that acts of intimidation, harassment, including barricading of gates, locking up of offices and preventing workers from carrying out their lawful duties will be met with appropriate response by security operatives.

The federal government has also directed all ministers, permanent secretaries and heads of government agencies to invoke the provision of “no work no pay” in respect of any staff who is absent.

The full text of the statement by the Secretary to the Government of the Federation is reproduced below:

 

OFFICE OF THE SECRETARY TO THE GOVERNMENT OF THE FEDERATION

PRESS RELEASE

PROPOSED INDEFINITE STRIKE ACTION BY THE NIGERIA LABOUR CONGRESS

The attention of all Public Officers is drawn to the notice issued by the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) to embark on an indefinite strike from Wednesday, 18th May, 2016. 

This notice is regrettably given in spite of an Order by the Industrial Court against the strike action. 

Government, therefore, calls upon and advises all workers to respect the laws of the land and to desist from participating in an illegal strike action. 

Government undertakes to guarantee the safety of workers and their work places, and expects that normal work will continue in the interest of the nation. 

Accordingly, security agencies have been directed to ensure unimpeded access to offices, work places and markets.  Acts of intimidation, harassment, including barricading of gates, locking up of offices, blocking of roads and preventing workers from carrying out their lawful duties will be met with appropriate response by the law enforcement agencies.

All workers, whether in public or private sector are further reminded of the Trade Dispute Act, 2004, which provides that ‘where any worker takes part in a strike, he shall not be entitled to any wages or remuneration for the period of the strike and any such period shall not count for the purpose of reckoning the period of continuous employment and all rights dependent on continuity of employment shall be prejudicially affected accordingly’.

Accordingly, all Ministers, Permanent Secretaries and Heads of Government Agencies are hereby directed to invoke the provision of ‘no work no pay’ in respect of any staff who absents him or herself from work to join the strike action. 

Attendance registers are required to be opened in all Ministries, Departments and Agencies.

Engineer Babachir David Lawal

Secretary to the Government of the Federation