In a bid to avert a scheduled nationwide strike by the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) over the recent removal of fuel subsidies, the Nigerian government on Monday appealed to the labor union to reconsider their decision and continue negotiations.
The NLC had proposed for Tuesday a two-day nationwide warning strike over economic hardship caused by the removal of fuel subsidies in the most populous African country. The issue of fuel subsidies has long been a contentious and sensitive one in Nigeria, with previous attempts at removal leading to widespread public outcry and protests.
Addressing a press conference in the capital of Abuja, Minister of Labor and Employment Simon Lalong said the appeal had become necessary in order to ensure a robust line of communication with Nigerians and, in particular, the organized labor to forestall a breakdown of industrial peace.
“Such action would be detrimental to the gains already being recorded on our course to securing a greater future for Nigerian workers and citizens at large,” Lalong said, calling on the labor union to give the government some time to settle and address the issues “on the ground holistically.”
Emphasizing that the government was determined to pursue policies aimed at massive employment generation in all sectors of the economy, the minister urged organized labor to note the importance of dialogue over industrial action.
The Trade Union Congress (TUC), a sister union to the NLC, has taken a different stance on the matter, local media reported on Monday. Instead of joining the nationwide strike, the TUC has expressed its willingness to continue engaging in dialogue and negotiation with the government.