Proposed NLC strike capable of plunging Nigeria into deeper economic woes — Senate

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The Nigerian Senate has expressed concern over the proposed nationwide strike by the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), stating that it poses a significant threat to the nation’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and overall well-being.

Recall that NLC a few days ago gave the Federal Government a seven-day ultimatum to reverse all perceived anti-poor policies or face an indefinite nationwide strike from August 2.

Reacting to the proposed industrial action by the NLC during the Senate plenary session on Monday, the upper chamber, according to information obtained through Policy and Legal Advocacy Centre (PLAC), stated that there is more to lose than gain from the strike. 

In a bill sponsored by Senator Abdulrahman Kawu Suleiman (Kano South) and titled “Urgent need to avert the intending strike of the Nigeria Labour Congress,” the Senate emphasized that the strike could result in deeper economic woes, heightened hunger, frustration, and increased hardship for the citizens.

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To avert the intending strike action, the Senate resolved by mandating its leadership to act as an intermediary between the NLC and the federal government to find a resolution.

The bill read in full, “Notes that the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) has given the Federal Government a seven-day ultimatum to reverse what the union termed as “anti-poor policies” or face an indefinite nationwide strike from Wednesday 2nd August 2023.

“Also notes that the NLC has directed all its affiliates and state councils to immediately begin mobilization of workers and other Nigerians, including civil society allies, for a long-lasting strike and mass protests.

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“Aware that the labour movement in a statement signed by its National President accused the Federal Government of failing to meet up with the demands it presented to it following the removal of the subsidy on petrol, which caused an astronomical rise in the pump price of the commodity.

“Disturbed that the strike would cripple the country as movement would be severely curtailed as commercial transport operators would withdraw their services, while markets, schools, and healthcare facilities would be forced to shut down.

“Further disturbed that the action could heat up the polity when it occurred, and the gains from the strike are far below the costs to either of the parties in conflict.

“Reflects that the strike threat by the NLC, if not averted, could plunge Nigeria into deeper economic woes, dislocate businesses, hunger, frustration, more hardship that would lead to unquantified financial losses and reduce Nigeria’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

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“Further aware that NLC strike is also a bad reputation for the Nigerian economy and the educational system because it portrays the country in a bad light to the external world and discourages foreigners from coming to do business or study in Nigeria.

“Concerned that the society always bears the brunt of strikes, like the saying that an idle hand is the devil’s workshop, increase in crime rate, social vices like armed robbery, oil bunkering, prostitution, cyber scams, etc.” (Tribune)

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