The Federal Government has applauded the Trade Union Congress (TUC) and the Joe Ajaero-led faction of the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) for their understanding to shelve the planned strike by organised labour. Mr Babachir Lawal, the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), gave the commendation in Abuja at a news conference warly on Wednesday after a meeting called with a view to avert the proposed strike.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) recalls that organised labour had scheduled to commence an industrial action on Wednesday in protest against the liberalization of the petroleum downstream sector, leading to a new fuel pump price of N145. Lawal said that the Federal Government, after two consecutive days of deliberations, had full cooperation from the TUC and the Joe Ajaero-led faction of the NLC, to set aside the planned strike.
According to him, a faction of the NLC completely agreed with the position of the TUC that they will participate in all the technical committees and that work continues on Wednesday as usual.
He, however, noted that the elected NLC representatives had decided that unless government addressed their demands, they would have no further participation in the process.
“We only received a notice from them on Saturday and it is government position that it is not humanly possible to respond to their demand within the time frame. “Government is fully assured that there will be no strike.
“Again, we will like to report to Nigerians that the Industrial Court has given an injunction that no strike should hold by NLC and TUC.
“Government wishes to assure all Nigerians that they should report at their duty posts and go about their jobs as usual. “Anyone embarking on strike is doing so illegally.”
He also said that government responsibility was to guarantee security of lives and property as well as freedom of movement and association.
The SGF said anyone found in anyway trying to compel Nigerians to do otherwise, would be challenged by the laws of the land.
Furthermore, Lawal said that the Federal Government had taken the painful decision to liberalise the petroleum sector, knowing that there could be possible adverse consequences to the comfort of Nigerians.
“But it is a decision needed to be taken at this time and it is the President’s believe that for a better future, painful decisions need to be taken now.
“The government is determined to bring Nigeria out of previous rot and take bold decisions where necessary, with some expected to be painful. “There is no other choice to this matter; if the president had choice to take other options that would be less painful than this, he would have gone for it,” the SGF said. (NAN)