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Labour faults FG’s meeting, insists on indefinite strike



By Sola Omoniyi, Lagos

The National Deputy President of the Trade Union Congress, Tommy Etim, said nothing would stop the strike, noting that Nigerian workers were disenchanted with the Federal Government.

He stated that the unions had given the government sufficient time to address their demands, stressing that the workers would not allow themselves to be deceived any longer.

Etim told Newsmen on Wednesday that any fresh meeting was pointless and asked Nigerians to brace up for the long-drawn walkout.

‘’The government had been given more than enough time to meet our demands but they did nothing. The strike has been fixed, nothing will stop it and if they (FG) like, they can go to court as usual. The only thing that can stop the strike is if they meet all our demands,’’ he stated.

Asked what Nigerians should expect during the industrial action, the labour leader added, ‘’It will not just be a total shutdown of the nation, it is going to be the mother of all strikes. Do you know that they are even planning to sack 17,000 workers in this period when Nigerians are suffering great hardships?’’

Also, a top official of the NLC while speaking on the proposed strike, said, “The issues are straightforward, NLC’s joint communiqué was very clear. NLC has declared an indefinite nationwide strike which is to begin on October 3, 2023, and nothing will make us not start unless the government does everything we have said they should do.’’

Asked if the unions would shelve their plan if invited to a meeting by FG, the union leader noted, ‘’No meeting or promise that would make us stop; the only thing that would make us stop is the fulfilment of all those demands, nothing else.”

Speaking on the planned strike in an interview on Wednesday, the National President of the TUC, Festus Osifo, asked the President Bola Tinubu-led Federal Government to account for the amount it claimed to have saved from the removal of subsidy on Premium Motor Spirit popularly known as petrol. Osifo said this during an interview on Arise Television.

In July 2023, the government noted that it saved more than N1 trillion following the removal of fuel subsidy.

Tinubu said the revenue saved would be used for the benefit of Nigerians.

“In a little over two months, we have saved over a trillion naira that would have been squandered on the unproductive fuel subsidy which only benefitted smugglers and fraudsters. That money will now be used more directly and more beneficially for you and your families,” Tinubu said.

Osifo explained that since the government announced that N1trn had been saved, there was no reason for the government to continue to obtain loans.

“The President and commander in chief on its own came and said the country has saved N1 trillion. The Federal Government went everywhere to announce that if the subsidy is removed, it’s going to save substantial money.

“And so, we don’t expect them to go everywhere and start borrowing money. They told us they were going to save money. So where is the money that you have saved and how have they deployed this money?’’ he queried.