The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) has issued a stern warning that it will initiate a nationwide strike without formal notice if the Federal Government proceeds with another petrol price hike before concluding ongoing negotiations.
Speaking at the African Alliance of Trade Unions meeting in Abuja, NLC President Comrade Joe Ajaero underscored the need for the government to rectify the detrimental economic policies that have led to meager wages for workers.
Ajaero stated that the current consideration of raising the pump price of petroleum products is causing concern among workers. He expressed frustration with the government’s approach, where the Minister of Labour often seeks legal injunctions to prevent labor from responding to proposed changes.
Ajaero emphasized, “Nigerian workers will not give any strike notice. If we haven’t yet addressed the repercussions of the recent fuel price increases and we suddenly learn of another adjustment, we will not stand idle.”
He urged the government to address the root causes of economic challenges, particularly policies that contribute to inflation and currency devaluation. Ajaero noted that if these issues are tackled, workers could be content even without immediate wage hikes.
The NLC President pointed out the alarming inflation rates and the growing number of Nigerians living in poverty. He called on the government to prioritize addressing these issues before considering wage adjustments.
Furthermore, Ajaero criticized undue police interference in labor unions’ affairs. He highlighted the need for the Ministry of Labour to educate the police about their boundaries, emphasizing that it is not within the Inspector General’s mandate to intrude on labor-related matters.
He condemned recent incidents of police targeting labor leaders and called for an apology from the Inspector General of Police for arresting the president of the National Union of Road Transport Workers. Ajaero emphasized that Nigerian workers will not hesitate to challenge any further encroachments on their rights.