Several groups have called on the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) to shelve their planned nationwide strike action. The calls are coming following the NLC’s plan to begin a nationwide strike in resistance to the Federal Government’s removal of fuel subsidy and hike in price of petrol, otherwise known as Premium Motor Spirit (PMS).
The strike action which is scheduled for wednesday 18th May 2016, analysts say might bring the entire nation to a standstill if embarked upon.
The move has been perceived by many in several quarters as a distraction from the real issue.
The Abuja Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ACCI) has called on the (NLC) to suspend its planned nationwide strike action.
In a statement issued in Abuja on Sunday by the President of the ACCI, Mr Tony Ejinkeonye, he appealed to the NLC “to shelve their planned nationwide strike”.
Mr Ejinkeonye also said, the call was necessary in order to prevent the nation’s economy from suffering any more knocks.
“That is why, we are asking labour and indeed all Nigerians to support the government at this time.
“We in ACCI, made it clear over the years that it’s impossible for Government to continue subsidy payments on petrol,’’ the ACCI president said.
Civil Societies Call Against Labour Strike Action
During the week, a coalition of twenty civil society organizations thrown their weight behind the government’s decision to deregulate the Nation’s downstream petroleum sector. They had warned the organised labour to refrain from the proposed nationwide strike.
The groups behind the warning include: Conscience Nigeria in partnership with other Civil Society organizations like Stand Up Nigeria, Center for Leadership Development, CPALD, National Youth Council of Nigeria, Arise Nigeria, and others.
The Executive Director of Conscience Nigeria, Comrade Tosin Adeyanju in a statement issued on Sunday on behalf of the coalition commended the bold step of the President Muhammadu Buhari-led government in fully deregulating the oil sector, which they claimed have been plagued by many years of monumental corruption in the subsidy regime.
Mr Adeyanju said,
“No nation can move forward without liberalization or deregulation of its critical economy sector like ours as it was done in the telecom sector. About 80% of our country’s revenue comes from oil proceeds and as the global economic meltdown continues, there is need for this to take place if we must be taken seriously among the committee of nations.
“Therefore, the step taken by the Minister of state to deregulate this critical sector is the best as at this material time. We All know the implication that will arise as a result of this sudden changes, however we must endure this phase in order for our country to survive this present economy realities that is very obvious.
“We equally appeal to the Nigerian Labour Congress and our other Civil Society colleagues to shelve the proposed nationwide strike and engage the government on the need to create immediate palliatives to cushion the effect of this policy instead of worsening the already bad economic state of the country.
“If our country is shut down as proposed, billions of naira will be lost and the country will suffer for it in the long run.We proposed immediate intervention by government in areas of introduction of subsidized transportation system across the country to ameliorate the sudden hike of transportation across the country.
“We equally appeal to government to immediately begin the implementation of the budget and immediate engagement of all stakeholders across the country to inform them about the benefit of deregulation and its benefit to Nigerian people.