It is no longer news that Nigeria Labour Congress in partnership with Trade Union Congress have called for war in the form of ‘Strike Action’ against the federal government in protest over the removal of fuel subsidy which simultaneously jacked up pump price and inflict more economic hardship on Nigerians.
It is often said that Nigeria’s Labour union strikes more than thunder such that over every disagreements with government, strike is a revenge mission. It is worthy to note that the instrument of strike action is supposed to be a last resort when other forms of negotiation and persuasion have failed.
The proposed strike of Labour Union for Wednesday to me is dead on arrival and a proposed showdown bedevilled by factioned perception, inconsistent and ideologically defective labour union. Before you put my head on the stake, the following reasons are justifications to why the imminent strike is doomed to fail.
Jonathan’s Fuel Subsidy Removal: We cannot forget in hurry, the New Year present of former president Goodluck Jonathan of subsidy removal and its attendant strike action. Deductions from different town hall meetings show that the influence of oil marketers in rigging the system for financial gains and the inability of the system to root them out lead to subsidy removal but most Nigerians doubted the ability of Jonathan’s government to plough back fund from subsidy removal to improve the lot of Nigerians in face of his corrupt-infested government. Labour Union as usual led the strike action but unfortunately called it off over a flimsy excuse that some divisive elements wanted to use the strike window to remove Jonathan from power (lame excuse).
Labour part of Fuel Subsidy Removal Meeting: In the meeting to intimate core stakeholders on the current fuel scarcity, supply difficulties in the country and the exorbitant prices paid by Nigerians for the product by Minister of state, Petroleum Resources and GMD of NNPC, Ibe Kachikwu, which also had in attendance the leadership of the Senate, House of Representatives, the governors’ forum, and labour unions (NLC, TUC, NUPENG and PENGASSAN). The Labour unions in their siddon-look approach did not fight the decision or staged a walk-out whereas Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN), Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) and Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN) all backed the decision, saying it was inevitable under the current economic climate. Only after the meeting, Labour found voice and pretend to act in the interest of the Nigerians.
Factional Leadership: The Nigeria Labour Union is already speaking with double mouth by its two different factions led by Joseph Ajaero and Ayuba Wabba and reports revealed that the federal government met with each faction separately in a bid to prevent strike action. Questions need to be asked of what the two factions represent to the masses or their ideological leanings and in a situation, one of the factions caved in to federal government pressure, the strike action becomes a wasted effort with nothing achieved.
Pardon my pessimism on the imminent strike action called by a factionalized labour, if labour union as the last hope of the common man cannot provide a united front to fight subsidy removal then why do Nigerians have to hope for reverse of subsidy removal decision or a pump price revert???
Written by Dosunmu Moshood