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Discord within labour as NLC tackles TUC for not taking part in strike action



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The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), in reaction to the Trade Union Congress of Nigeria (TUC) declining to take part in a two-day warning strike two weeks ago, said on Monday that a trade union cannot end a strike that it did not start.

NLC President, Joe Ajaero, said this on Channels Television’s Politics Today hours after a meeting between the Federal Government and the NLC to avert an extended strike resulted in a standstill.

The NLC called for fixing of the nation’s refineries, addressing the effects of petrol price increases, reviewing the minimum wage, providing a realistic CNG alternative roadmap, and paying professors’ salary arrears.

Simon Lalong, the minister of labour, met separately with the TUC shortly after that discussion. Since the warning strike earlier this month, both unions have had separate meetings with the Federal Government.

Read Also: Strike: Nigerian govt, NLC meeting ends in deadlock

“From what you can see from our last warning strike, you see that we can do it alone,” Ajaero said.

Asked if the NLC does not need the TUC, Ajaero stated, “We can work independently; we can work jointly when we agree.

“But the NLC will not take under our watch if we give a strike notice and then a union that didn’t give a strike notice says they are backing out of a strike that they didn’t call for.”

The NLC president argued that any union could give its strike notice.

“TUC can give their strike notice and go ahead with their notice. NLC can give their strike notice and go ahead with their notice,” he said.

Ajaero however stated that if TUC gives a strike notice, the NLC would not say it is not a part of it “because they didn’t even say they were part of it in the first instance”.

The NLC also criticised the Federal Government over its failure to meet the demands of the union, which is gearing up to embark on an indefinite strike in light of economic hardships in the country.

“We agree that the Federal Government has had more than enough time for the past four months and that even if there is a commitment, between now and the next four days, issues will be resolved,” he said.

“And we hope that the minister [Simon Lalong] will work with us within these next few days to make sure we resolve the problem.”

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