28th September, 2023
By Emmanuel Oloniruha
The Civil Society and Workers Dialogue Forum (CSWDF) has stated its opposition to the proposed strike by the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), which is set to begin on Tuesday, October 3.
In a statement issued by the convener, Abubakar Ibrahim, the association condemned the move as economic sabotage.
Given the NLC’s insensitivity to its own part in the debate with the Federal Government over the petrol subsidy removal deadlock, the planned move was characterised as purposeful mischief.
The CSO stated that it would always lend its voice if the NLC chose nobility, embrace discussion, and call off the strike.
The CSO stated that the NLC had fully agreed to the removal of gasoline subsidies, something it had previously lobbied for.
It said that “having the subsidy that has been draining government for years removed should be supported by all stakeholders, rather than ‘evil kick’ as it were.”
The group acknowledged Nigerians’ difficulties and highlighted that the Federal Government had made astute measures in repairing the refineries to cut the cost of PMS and petrol importation.
It said that the recent provision of palliatives worth N5 billion to each of the federation’s 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory is part of attempts to minimise the effects till things return to normal.
It added that no government in the world enjoys seeing its people suffer.
“The wage increase for workers is being negotiated with the NLC, constituting membership of the committee; hence, we are appalled at what the proposed strike intends to achieve.
“As opposed to the past, the NLC has always been on the negotiation table before any decision was taken by this administration,” the group said.
The CSO recalled that in June 2023, “the labour union was in talks with the Federal Government over fuel subsidy removal without carrying other stakeholders along, along with which we protested our exclusion.
“Having agreed with President Bola Tinubu’s administration, only for the workers union to recant and propose an indefinite strike is counterproductive, and we will mobilise our members across the 36 states and FCT for an anti-NLC protest,” the CSO said.
It added that the statement should serve as official notice to the Director of State Service, Inspector General of Police, and other security agencies that it is going to mobilise to the streets against the NLC on Oct. 3.
The group said that some states had purchased buses for public transportation and had also added funds to the FG’s offer to them to cushion the effects of the subsidy removal in their respective states.
It insisted that the proposed strike is inappropriate, thereby calling on citizens not to allow themselves to be used against the genuine interests of the government.