Leaders of the organised labour around 2am on Monday succumbed to pressure from the federal government and shelved the planned nationwide strike over the increase in petrol price and electricity tariffs.

The leadership of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and the Trade Union Congress (TUC) had earlier directed their members to remain at home from from Monday until their demands were met.

But following hours of negotiations during a meeting at the Presidential Villa Banquet Hall in Abuja which started around 8.30pm, officials of the organized labour called off the strike and asked their members to go to work.

Tariff Hike

Reading the communiqué after the meeting, the Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr. Chris Ngige said the parties agreed to set up a technical committee comprising ministries, departments, agencies, NLC and TUC, which will work for a duration of 2 weeks effective from Monday.

Horse trading ahead of truce

Earlier, the organized labour took a swipe at the federal government over two recent court injunctions secured last Thursday and Friday restraining the unions and their affiliates from proceeding with the strike over the increase in petrol price and hike in electricity tariffs.

The Nigerian workers during a meeting at the Banquet Hall of the Presidential Villa in Abuja insisted that nothing will stop them from embarking on the indefinite strike but a reversal of the increases.

A similar meeting was deadlocked on Thursday, even as the parties agreed to meet today in order to deliberate further.  However, after realising that the labour unions have resolved to go on with the strike today, officials of the federal government engaged them last night but nothing fruitful came out of the meeting.

Decisions on petrol, electricity taken at the wrong time

The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, on Sunday met with the leadership of the NLC with a view to averting the planned strike.

Gbajabiamila said the mediation by the House came at the last minute because he had assumed that the earlier talks between the labour and the ministry of labour would yield some result.

He commended the labour unions for being the watchdog of the government and the society as well as for protecting the common man and the workers.

He, however, appealed to the organised labour to consider its stance in the interest of the nation, “especially at this time when the government is trying to address some critical challenges caused by the COVID-19 pandemic on the nation’s socio-economic development of the country.”

He said when the government was shut down, “the people we seek to protect invariably end up holding the short end of the stick. So, it ends up defeating the purpose.” Source: Daily Trust