In an effort to avert the impending nationwide strike by the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) over the recent increases in the pump price of petrol and removal of subsidy, the Senate has taken action. The Senate President, Senator Godswill Akpabio, and the entire leadership of the upper chamber have been mandated to engage in dialogue between the NLC and the Federal Government.
The decision was reached following a motion titled “Urgent Need to Avert the Intending Strike of Nigeria Labour Congress,” sponsored by Senator Kawu Suleiman Abdulrahman. The motion highlights the NLC’s seven-day ultimatum for the government to reverse the alleged anti-poor policies or face an indefinite nationwide strike starting on August 2, 2023.
The Senate expressed concern over the potential consequences of the strike, including disruption of movement, shutdown of markets, schools, and healthcare facilities, as well as negative impacts on the country’s economy and reputation. They emphasized that the society often bears the brunt of such strikes, leading to increased crime rates and social vices.
During the discussion, Senator Seriake Dickson, former governor of Bayelsa State, acknowledged that the fuel subsidy regime by the Federal Government was not sustainable. However, he urged the Senate to intervene before their vacation and find a way to address the concerns raised by the NLC.
Senator Olamilekan Adeolam, representing Ogun West, appealed to the NLC leadership to give the government time to address the issues. He emphasized that the government is actively working to find solutions and shared an example of how his state had provided additional allowances to workers to mitigate the effects of the subsidy removal.
Senate President Godswill Akpabio also acknowledged the hardships faced by Nigerians and the need to address their concerns. He expressed that the Senate understood the people’s struggle and called on state and local governments to consider providing additional allowances to cushion the impact of the subsidy removal.
With the Senate leadership taking an active role in mediating the dispute, there is hope for constructive dialogue between the NLC and the government to find a resolution and prevent the potential negative consequences of the impending strike.