Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Nigerian General Strike

Strike Begins as FG, Workers Talks Collapse
Daily Trust (Abuja)
By Abdullahi M. Gulloma, Abdul-Rahman Abubakar

Last ditch efforts by government to avert a nationwide strike by labour failed last night. The NLC, TUC and JAF after a meeting yesterday rebuffed government's offer that fell short of reversing increase in fuel price.

The workers made their decision known in a letter to government delivered through the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Alhaji Babagana Kingibe. The SGF took the letter to the villa and after a meeting with President Umaru Musa Yar'Adua, the government issued a statement declining to accede to labour's demand. The statement signed by Kingibe reads in part:

"The federal government notes with regret the decision by the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC), Trade Union Congress (TUC) and "JAF" that notwithstanding government's overtures of the last 48 hours, to declare an indefinite general strike and mass protest beginning Wednesday, 20 June, 2007 unless their four-point demands were addressed.

Any well meaning Nigerian in whose name labour purports to speak can see that the tone and content of this press statement (Labour's) clearly indicated a political, rather than an industrial agenda.

"Indeed, in the press statement, the labour leaders widened the scope of their demands to include elements which they never raised in the course of their engagement with government.

"In arriving at these decisions, government took into consideration the overall national interest and they are not, and should not be, misconstrued as a response to the agitation of any group or individuals.

"Government is aware of and sensitive to the plight of the Nigerian people and is resolved to address them squarely. Policy initiatives towards this end are being finalised. This resolve was underscored by President Umaru Musa Yar'Adua in his inaugural address on May 29 this year when he said: "Let us join together to ease the pains of today while working for the gains of tomorrow."


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