NLC declares strike, demands fuel price reversal

Efforts to resolve the dispute between FG and the NLC through negotiations have thus far been unsuccessful; hence the declaration of strike.

The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) has declared a nationwide strike, set to commence next Wednesday, June 07, 2023, in response to fuel shortages across the country.

These shortages were caused by marketers’ fears after President Bola Tinubu‘s announcement during his inaugural speech, declaring the end of fuel subsidies.

The NLC President, Joe Ajaero, made the strike announcement after an emergency meeting of the union’s National Executive Council in Abuja.

The strike is a result of the government’s failure to meet the union’s ultimatum of reverting to the previous price of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS), commonly known as petrol, before the specified deadline. Ajaero warned that if the Federal Government does not comply, the strike will escalate into an indefinite protest throughout the nation.

President Tinubu’s stance on fuel subsidies has triggered widespread reactions. In his inaugural speech, he declared an end to the era of subsidy payments, stating that the 2023 budget no longer includes provisions for such subsidies. The government plans to redirect funds towards infrastructure and other economic strengthening measures.

However, the Nigerian Labour Congress and the Trade Union Congress of Nigeria strongly oppose Tinubu’s decision, arguing that the President cannot unilaterally remove fuel subsidies without consultation.

TUC President Festus Osifo pointed out that the previous administration had intentionally left the “sensitive issue” for the incoming government to handle.

Efforts to resolve the dispute between the government and the NLC through negotiations have thus far been unsuccessful. A recent meeting between representatives of the Federal Government and the NLC concluded without reaching a consensus. The government was represented by spokesperson Dele Alake, NNPC Group CEO Mele Kyari, CBN Governor Godwin Emefiele, and former Edo State Governor Adams Oshiomhole. On the labour side, NLC President Joe Ajaero and TUC President Festus Osifo were present.

During the meeting, the NLC demanded that the government revert to the previous fuel price as a precondition for further negotiations. Ajaero emphasised that no discussions had taken place regarding palliative measures for the Nigerian populace, leading to the rejection of the government’s latest announcement.

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