The National Economic Council (NEC), chaired by Vice President Kashim Shettima, has appealed to the organised labour unions to suspend their planned indefinite strike on October 3, 2023. The NEC also urged the labour leaders to resume negotiations with the federal and state governments on issues affecting the welfare of workers and the masses.
The NEC made this appeal on Thursday, September 28, 2023, after its monthly meeting at the Presidential Villa, Abuja. The meeting was attended by governors, ministers, and other top government officials.
The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and the Trade Union Congress (TUC) had announced their intention to embark on a nationwide strike to protest the hike in the price of gasoline and the removal of subsidies, which they said had unleashed massive suffering on the people. The labour unions had accused the federal government of failing to engage them meaningfully and reach agreements on the provision of palliatives to cushion the effect of the hardship.
However, the NEC said that the strike would have negative implications for the economy and the nation, especially at a time when the states were recovering from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and the previous industrial actions. The NEC said that the strike would also disrupt the ongoing efforts to address the security challenges and the infrastructural deficits in the country.
The NEC therefore appealed to the labour unions to shelve the strike and continue on the path of dialogue with the government at all levels. The NEC said that it was aware of the genuine concerns of the labour force and the masses and that it was working with the federal government to find lasting solutions to them.
The NEC also said that President Muhammadu Buhari would be addressing the nation on October 1, 2023, as part of the activities marking the 63rd Independence Day anniversary. The NEC said that the president’s speech would touch on some of the issues raised by the labour movement and the masses and that it hoped that the speech would assuage their grievances and restore their confidence in the government.
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