The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) has criticized the Trade Union Congress (TUC) for its decision to withdraw from the recent 2-day warning strike, asserting that a trade union cannot discontinue an industrial action it did not initiate.
NLC President Joe Ajaero made this statement during an appearance on the Politics Today program on Channels Television, following an unsuccessful meeting between the Federal Government and the NLC to prevent an indefinite strike.
Ajaero, characterizing the NLC as the leading labor organization, stated that they can proceed independently based on the outcome of their last warning strike.
“Well, there is no organization, there is no trade union registered as organized labor; it was coined for the convenience of the government to avoid two meetings, and the two organizations are independent, although one is the foremost labor center.
“At the international labor organization or any meeting, the foremost or the union with the highest worker representatives lead. Even in ILO, we must take TUC along, so if we can’t agree again on issues, we can meet separately with the government and table our matters. “From what you can see from our last warning strike, you see that we can do it alone.”
When asked if the NLC does not require the TUC, Ajaero stated, “We can work independently; we can work jointly when we agree.
“But 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.”
Ajaero argued that any union could issue its strike notice.
“Every union can give their strike notice, TUC can give their strike notice and go ahead with their notice. NLC can give their strike notice and go ahead with their notice.”
However, Ajaero stated that if the TUC issues a strike notice, the NLC would not disassociate itself from it “because they didn’t even say they were part of it in the first instance.”
He noted that these are matters that are being clarified.
In conclusion, the NLC had previously given the Federal Government a 21-day ultimatum to address its demands or face an indefinite strike. Among its demands are addressing the consequences of petrol price increases, reviewing the minimum wage, providing a workable roadmap for the CNG alternative, rehabilitating the country’s refineries, and paying lecturers’ salary arrears. The NLC had previously declined to attend a meeting arranged by the minister to prevent an earlier two-day nationwide strike, with only the TUC participating in the meeting.