The National Economic Council (NEC) comprising governors of the 36 States of the federation on Thursday appealed to the organised labour to shelve their planned nationwide strike scheduled to commence on Tuesday, October 3.
Governor of Plateau state, Caleb Muftwang, who briefed State House Correspondents after the council meeting chaired by the Vice President, Kashim Shettima at the Presidential Villa, urged the labour leaders to return to the negotiation table with the government cautioning that embarking on a fresh strike action would further hurt the economy.
The Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) and the Trade Union Congress (TUC) had directed their affiliate bodies to commence a nationwide industrial action from October 3, saying it would be a total shut down of the system, until government takes steps to attend to their demands.
Mutfwang said Council was of the opinion that continuing on the path of dialogue would be the best option for the economy, especially at the states’ level.
He said, “Council noted the notice by the national leadership of the Nigerian Labour Congress to proceed on an indefinite strike from October 3, 2023. The Council noted further the implication of this strike for the economy and the nation and thus urged members to continue to engage with the leadership of their respective states and to appeal to them to shelve the action and continue on the path of dialogue with the federal government. This is the appeal of Council”, the governor noted.
Explaining the grounds for NEC’s appeal further, Mutfwang described the situation of most of the states when the various governors took off on May 29, noting that many of them were just coming out of prolonged industrial strikes, adding that enforcing a new strike at this time would further damage the economy.
“NEC actually expressed genuine concern on the situation in the country and appreciates the concern by Labour to have those issues addressed. That is why NEC is appealing for patience, appealing for time to be able to address the concerns of Labour. We also believe that Mr. President will be addressing the nation first of October and some of the concerns of Labour will be appropriately addressed in the President’s speech.
“It is therefore important.to note that it’s a federation, so whatever happens Labour is represented in all the 36 states and the FCT and NEC is appealing that discussions should continue at the state levels because there will be peculiarities as to the issues to be addressed concerning the demands of Labour, therefore dialogue is the way to go.
“The nation is at a very critical moment at this time, some of the states, when they took over on May 29, the workers were on strike, some of those issues have just been resolved for the workers to return to work. To ask them to go back immediately, it’s going to further damage the economy,” he added.