‘Labour Lost Credibility With Strike Suspension’

Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN) Ebun-Olu Adegboruwa and a former director of Constitutional Watch, Aham Njoku have criticised Organised Labour for suspension of its planned nationwide strike.

They suggested the unions appeared to be acting out a script when they mobilised workers to prepare to protest fuel and electricity tariffs increase, adding that they had lost credibility.

After about eight hours talks last Sunday, the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and the Trade Union Congress (TUC) agreed to suspend the planned nationwide strike following agreements with the Federal Government on palliatives to cushion the increases in fuel and electricity tariff.

But Ebun said having mobilised Nigerians in readiness for a total shutdown it was not patriotic to “suddenly suspend the strike like a thief in the midnight.”

He lamented that the unionists had disrupted people’s plans and schedules almost for the entire week.

And more importantly, according to him, “labour did not gain anything from the negotiation at all, except it is deceiving and misleading Nigerians.

“The so-called suspension of electricity tariff increase will come back in just two weeks. And labour also accepted deregulation to kill the people of Nigeria.

“The real question then is, why did labour declare the strike at all when it knew it was yet to exhaust avenues for dialogue?”

The government, Adegboruwa added, has succeeded in weakening labour, such that “I don’t think it can ever call out workers and Nigerians again. It is most unfortunate; but, if labour can be steadfast to see through the negotiations, what a strike should have achieved can also be achieved through a roundtable.”

For Njoku, a lot of Nigerians were disappointed with the way and manner the NLC and TUC handled negotiations with the government.

“In all, from what l hear people feel that labour just acted an old and worn-out script. They made a lot of noise claiming to be mobilising citizens for protest, only to chicken out at the last minute. This has happened several times in the past,” he said.

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