The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) has raised concerns over the Federal Government’s delay in negotiating post-subsidy palliatives for workers, a situation exacerbating the country’s economic hardships. The NLC is set to hold an emergency National Executive Council (NEC) meeting to determine its course of action in response to the government’s perceived inaction.
The NLC’s NEC includes leaders of affiliate unions, state chairpersons and secretaries of NLC state councils, and representatives from various committees. Expressing their frustration with the government’s lethargy, a senior NLC official hinted at the possibility of drastic measures to compel the government back to the negotiation table.
State chapters of the NLC have expressed readiness to mobilize their members for potential strike action if the NEC decides to proceed with it. The key demands of the NLC and the Trade Union Congress (TUC) include wage awards, the implementation of palliatives, tax exemptions and allowances for public sector workers, and a review of the minimum wage.
President Bola Tinubu established the Presidential Steering Committee and sub-committees to discuss the framework for palliatives in June. However, the eight-week timeframe set for this process expired in August with no progress. The sub-committees failed to meet or fulfill their mandates, leaving the NLC and TUC leadership disillusioned.
The NLC’s National President, Joe Ajaero, expressed disappointment that none of the labor demands had been addressed. A senior NLC official emphasized that the government had ample time to act, with four months passing since the removal of the fuel subsidy without any action to alleviate workers’ concerns.
The NEC meeting will determine the timing and nature of any potential strike action. The NLC official urged those opposing a strike to pressure the government to address the people’s needs. Meanwhile, the TUC is awaiting feedback from the government following recent post-subsidy removal negotiations.
The Minister of Information, Idris Mohammed, assured that engagement is ongoing but did not provide specific details on the progress of negotiations. The outcome of these deliberations remains critical for Nigerian workers grappling with economic challenges resulting from subsidy removal.