Strike: Labour doublespeak confusing Nigerians

After a meeting on Sunday between Speaker Femi Gbajabiamila and the leadership of the NLC and TUC in the effort to head off the planned strike starting from Sept. 28, the possibility of the industrial action on Monday is neither here nor there.

On the one hand, the unions jointly declared their readiness to embark on a nationwide strike and protests to compel the Federal Government to reverse the hikes in fuel prices and electricity tariffs.

“Are you not aware also that there is a court judgment stopping the tariff? This is a valid judgment from the High Court stopping the tariff increase and that judgment is still subsisting. Are you not aware of that? And on the issue of the court judgment, we have not been served,” said the NLC President Ayuba Wabba while dismissing court rulings stopping the strike.

“If the issues are not addressed – you’re aware that we’ve given a notice and that notice will certainly expire by tomorrow – all the actions we have pronounced will certainly take effect.”

But on the other hand,  the labour leaders are speaking glowingly of the mediation by the House of Reps. He described the meeting as useful.

Gajabiamila, Wabba noted, has, however, promised to try to intervene at his own level, to see to it that we don’t inflict more pains on Nigerians.

“And in the course of the discussion, we have also realised that the House of Reps has done a lot on this issue, including recommendation to government which we have shared mutually,” he said.

At the meeting were Gbajabiamila, President of the NLC, Ayuba Wabba; and his TUC counterpart, Quadri Olaleye, Deputy Majority Leader, Peter Akpatason; and Chairman, House Committee on Labour, Ali Muhammed, and others

“As I said, in good faith, you’ll recall that we were on the negotiation table up till late Thursday night. Therefore, our expectation is that we should be able to, in good faith, continue to dialogue, not to try to ambush because we have not received the order as of today and we don’t know the details of any order. Clearly speaking, we cannot speak on something that is not before us,” he said.

The federal government has ordered all its civil servants to resume work tomorrow, and the police have vowed to implement the court orders proscribing the strike.