Conditions listed by Labour to halt strikes

Labour lists conditions for suspending strike action

The Labour Union delegation, comprising NLC and TUC members, met with the National Security Adviser on Wednesday, and the government team, including the ministers of Labour and Employment, said that they received several appeals and assurances from the National Security Adviser, Nuhu Ribadu, on promises of what they were going to do regarding the attack on NLC President Joe Ajaero and other demands.

The genesis of this dialogue lies in the unfortunate incident involving the attack on NLC President, Joe Ajaero, which sent shockwaves through the labor community. In response to this egregious act, the labor unions, comprising representatives from NLC and TUC, convened with key government officials, including the National Security Adviser and ministers of Labour and Employment. The objective was twofold: to seek justice for the attacked union leader and to address a broader spectrum of concerns impacting the Nigerian workforce.

Amidst the charged atmosphere, the National Security Adviser, Nuhu Ribadu, played a pivotal role in assuaging the concerns of the labor delegation. Reports from the meeting indicate that the unions received several appeals and assurances regarding the actions the government intends to take in response to the attack on Joe Ajaero. The delicacy of the situation lies in the balance between justice for the aggrieved and the potential suspension of a nationwide strike that could significantly impact the country.

NLC and the TUC had declared an indefinite nationwide strike on Tuesday to protest the arrest and brutalization of NLC President Joe Ajaero by policemen in Owerri, Imo State, on November 1, 2023

President of the Trade Union Congress, Festus Osifo who spoke on behalf of Labour after the meeting, said however that the delegation will take every discussion and conversation they have had with the government back to the organs of labour and inform them before a decision can be taken on whether the strike should be called off or not
He said, “We came here for a discussion.

“The NSA invited us in furtherance of a press release he issued disclosing that some people have been arrested in connection with the brutality meted out to the NLC President. At the end of the day, he made several promises about what they were going to do and several appeals for the strike to be called off.

“We had a robust conversation, and we told him our side of the issue. The strike was caused by something, and the strike is a symptom of the problem. Every conversation we have had, we are taking back to our organs.

“The NSA promised to coordinate all the steps and issues involved. We will go back and reappraise the conversations we have had, with all the assurances they have given us, before coming up with a decision.

On his part, the minister of Labour and Employment, Mr. Simon Lalong, disclosed that labor and government representatives had very fruitful, genuine, and frank discussions of the issues involved.

“It is an ongoing discussion. We have not received any commitment on when the strike will be called off. We have appealed to them. We don’t expect the strike to take a long time”.
Six conditions

Meanwhile, the national leadership of the NLC on Wednesday listed six conditions that must be met before suspending the action.

NLC, in a post on its official X handle, said the conditions include the arrest and prosecution of Chinasa Nwaneri, a Special Adviser to the Imo governor on special duties who allegedly led the attack on the NLC president and other workers in the state.

It also said all police officers as well as thugs involved in the attack on the labour leader should be arrested, prosecuted and dismissed.

Other demands include the arrest, prosecution and dismissal of the Chief Security Officer in Imo State Government House, simply identified as SP Shaba.

“He led, participated and provided cover for thugs to brutalise workers in Imo State,” the NLC alleged.

The labour union also demanded the arrest, prosecution, and dismissal of an unnamed police area commander who, it claimed, oversaw the brutalization of the NLC president and other workers in the state.

The final condition is that Ahmed Barde, the former Commissioner of Police in Imo State, be investigated and prosecuted for his alleged involvement in the assault on the NLC chief.

“Our demands are simple. We want justice” the union demanded.

The Minister of Labour and Employment, Simon Bako Lalong, and the Minister of State for Employment, Hon. Nkeiruka Onyeajeocha, were in attendance at the meeting held at the Office of the National Security Adviser, ONSA.

Also, in attendance were labour leaders led by TUC President, Festus Osifo, NLC Secretary General, Emmanuel Ugboaja, and other Labour leaders.

Recall that the NLC and the TUC had declared an indefinite nationwide strike on Tuesday, to protest the arrest and brutalisation of NLC President, Joe Ajaero, by Policemen, in Owerri, Imo State on November 1, 2023.


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