NLC, TUC: Proposed Strike Not In National Interest – Presidency


The Presidency says the proposed industrial action by the leadership of the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) and the Trade Union Congress (TUC) is unacceptable and not in the national interest.

The government further described the proposed 14 November strike as illegal, immoral, unjustifiable and irresponsible.

The Special Adviser to the President on Information and Strategy, Mr Bayo Onanuga, relayed this in a statement released to State House correspondents on Monday evening.

Mr Onanuga added that the decision by the Organized Labour unions remains an attempt to blackmail the government.

“We notice with dismay the decision by the Nigerian Labour Congress and Trade Union Congress to call out workers to commence a strike action from midnight, despite a restraining order issued last week by Justice Benedict Backwash Kanyip of the National Industrial Court.

“We are still at a loss as to why the NLC and TUC decided to punish a whole country of over 200million people over a personal matter involving the NLC President, Mr Joe Ajaero, whose error of judgement led to an assault on him in Owerri while he was planning to incite the workers in Imo State into a needless strike,” the statement read.

Onanuga emphasized that calling out workers on a national strike over a personal issue of a labour leader, despite a court order against any industrial action, amounts to an abuse of privilege.

“While the Federal government does not condone any form of violence and assault on any citizen of Nigeria regardless of his or her social and economic status, it is on record that the Inspector General of Police has ordered an investigation into what happened to Mr Ajaero, while the Commissioner of Police in Imo State, under whose watch the incident happened, has been transferred out of the state. 

“Power at any level should never be used to settle personal scores. “Rather, it should be used to promote collective progress and advance national interest,” Onanuga noted.

The presidential aide cautioned that the nation’s economy and social activities should not suffer due to the personal interest of any labour leader.

“This flagrant disobedience to court order and lack of respect for the Judiciary should not be what the organised Labour would champion.  

“This decision by the NLC and TUC, other than being an ego-tripping move, is unwarranted. It is an attempt to blackmail the government by the leadership of the NLC.

“We reiterate that this strike action is illegal, immoral, unjustifiable and irresponsible.

“What the strike notice, issued Monday night after official hours, suggests is it’s designed for a sinister and hidden agenda to cause undue hardship and civil disturbance in our country.

“This is unacceptable,” Mr Onanuga added.

Mr Onanuga recalled that the labour movement had been a champion of the rule of law and respect for the Judiciary in the past but lamented that the current labour leaders have shown disregard for court orders.

Recall that the Nigerian Labour Congress and the Trade Union Congress of Nigeria on Monday evening, 13th November, ordered their members to withdraw their services nationwide from midnight on November 14, 2023.

The strike is to protest the battering of the NLC President, Joe Ajaero, and some other executives of the congress in Owerri, Imo State, on November 1, as well as the pending labour issues in Imo State.