As the ultimatum issued by the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), to the Federal Government to address the challenges caused by the removal of subsidy on petrol expires today, there is an air of uncertainty as to whether the union would embark on an indefinite nationwide strike.
However, according to reports, the union’s National Executive Council (NEC) will meet next week to decide when to begin an indefinite nationwide strike.
Recall that the labour union had on September 5 and 6 organised a two-day warning strike. After the exercise which was observed by its members across the country, the Congress leadership issued a 21-day ultimatum for the Federal Government to resolve lingering issues regarding the subsidy removal.
A statement signed by the NLC president, Joe Ajero, released at the end of the two-day warning strike, on September 6, said the union would be compelled to mobilise its members to down tools indefinitely if government fails to address their demands.
Discussions between Labour and the Federal Government on post-subsidy removal palliatives for workers, especially at the federal level, have not been concluded.
The leaders of NLC and Federal Government officials on Monday had a meeting which both parties described as “fruitful.” It is not yet clear if they have resolved all the issues raised by NLC and the Trade Union Congress (TUC)
Following the hardship inflicted on Nigerians, as a result of the petrol subsidy removal, NLC and TUC made some demands which include: immediate reversal of all anti-poor policies of the Federal Government, including the recent hike in PMS price, increase in public school fees, the release of the eight months withheld salaries of university teachers and workers as well as the increase in Value Added Tax (VAT).
Others are wage awards, tax exemptions and allowances to public sector workers, provision of Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) buses, the release of modalities for the N70 billion for Small and Medium Enterprises.
There are indications that the government team is working hard to avert another round of industrial action by NLC.