The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) has debunked speculations that it might back down on its proposed industrial action slated nationwide for Wednesday.
It said the only reason it would shelve the strike is if the Federal Government and NNPC Limited reverse fuel subsidy removal.
NLC failed to attend Sunday evening’s meeting with the Federal Government on the removal of fuel subsidy.
The meeting comes five days after a first meeting with the new government on the same issue, ended in a deadlock.
In his inauguration speech on Monday, President Bola Tinubu had said “petrol subsidy is gone”, a pronouncement that immediately led to a resurfacing of long queues at gas stations and a hike in the pump price of the product across the country.
In a statement on Sunday by its Head of Information and Public Affairs, Benson Upah, the NLC described a report in a national newspaper that it is backing out of the proposed strike as “laughable and desperate attempt by enemies of the people to polarise Nigeria Labour Congress along ethnic or regional lines on an issue with a national spread”.
According to Upah, “this scenario only plays in their imagination as Nigeria Labour Congress continues to be the biggest pan-Nigerian organisation united by a common vision/mission and shared national values.
“On the looming strike, we want to assure that all the affiliate unions of the congress stand together with an unshakeable resolve to prosecute, come Wednesday, except the NNPCL and government do the needful.
“Whereas, primordial sentiments such as religion, region or ethnicity may be refuge for some, at the Nigeria Labour Congress, they have no place. What counts for us are issues such as the mindless and criminal increase in the pump price of PMS whose burden will be borne by the already impoverished communities of the poor across Nigeria,” it stated”.
NLC said the burden of the malevolent policy would not be borne by other segments of the country to the exclusion of the North or South-West, hence, “there is no reason for those regions to back out of the strike”.
While the NLC did not report for the meeting with the Federal Government on Sunday evening, the Trade Union Congress (TUC) had a seven-member team, led by its president, Comrade Festus Osifo.
Initiated by the Federal Government, the meeting began around 5 pm, with the consequences of petrol subsidy removal, on the agenda.
The Federal Government’s team is being led by the new Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Senator George Akume. Also in the delegation were the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Mr. Godwin Emefiele; the Group Chief Executive Officer of NNPC Limited, Malam Mele Kyari; and former Governor of Edo State, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole.