A Civil Society Organization known as the Civil Society and Workers Dialogue Forum (CSWDF) has voiced its opposition to the planned strike by the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC), set to commence on Tuesday, October 3.
In a statement issued on Thursday by the group’s convener and co-conveners – Abubakar Ibrahim, Bashir Faisal, and Comrade Rafiu Shaibu – the CSOs described the action as “sabotage and mischievous,” arguing that the union lacked sensitivity towards its own part of the dialogue with the Federal Government regarding the fuel subsidy removal impasse.
“The Nigeria Labour Congress fully agreed to the withdrawal of fuel subsidy, which they also earlier advocated for. Having the subsidy that has been draining government for centuries removed should be supported by all stakeholders rather than evil kick,” the CSO stated.
While acknowledging the hardships faced by Nigerians, the group highlighted the Federal Government’s efforts in rehabilitating refineries to reduce the cost of PMS and gas importation. Additionally, it emphasized the recent distribution of palliatives, totaling N5 billion, to each of the 36 States of the Federation and the Federal Capital Territory as part of mitigation measures. The CSO emphasized that no government, anywhere in the world, derives pleasure from the suffering of its people.
“The wage increase of workers is being negotiated with NLC constituting membership of the committee. Hence, we are appalled at what the proposed strike intends to achieve,” the group expressed.
Questioning the purpose of the proposed strike, considering the ongoing negotiations between the NLC and the government, the CSO emphasized the NLC’s historical participation in discussions before any decision was made. It recalled the Union’s talks with the FG over fuel subsidy removal in June, during which it protested its exclusion.
“Having agreed with President Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s administration, the workers’ union recanting and proposing an indefinite strike is counterproductive, and we will mobilize our members across the 36 States and FCT for an anti-NLC protest,” the statement declared.
Furthermore, the group highlighted the efforts made by certain states in purchasing buses for public transportation and providing additional funds to supplement the government’s offer. It deemed the proposed strike inappropriate.
The CSO called on citizens to resist the temptation of being used against the genuine interests of the government. It also urged the leadership of the NLC to reconsider the decision on the proposed strike in the best interest of the country.
“This statement serves as official notice to the Director of State Service (DSS), IGP, and other security agencies that we are mobilizing to the streets against the NLC on October 3,” the group announced.
In conclusion, the CSO emphasized the importance of stakeholder support and urged the Nigerian Labour Congress and the government to continue their dialogue in order to find a mutually beneficial resolution to the fuel subsidy removal issue.