TUC: Labour May Extend One-Day Strike to One Week

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  • 21-day ultimatum stands, says resident doctors

Paul Obi in Abuja

As the federal government intensifies efforts to pacify the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) and the organised labour from embarking on its planned one-day nationwide warning strike, the Trade Union Congress (TUC) wednesday said labour might extend the anticipated strike to one week.

TUC’s position came on the heels of reports of likely cracks ahead of the planned NLC nationwide warning strike, which the union said, is aimed at expressing its angst against government poor handling of the economy, electricity tariff hike, fuel scarcity, among others.

Speaking to THISDAY, TUC President, Bobboi Kaigama, said the plan to embark on the warning strike was still on ‘course’ stating that, consultations were still on-going.

He said: “Of course, the plan to go on strike is still on; the most important thing is consultation. You know, to organise a strike is not a tea party, you have to consult widely before you go on with the plan,” Kaigama said.
“At the moment, we are still monitoring the situation; it is also likely that, it (strike) may be extended to one week in order to make an impact” the TUC president told THISDAY.

Asked if government had reached out to the TUC in an attempt to compel the body to shelve its plan, Kaigama said at the last forum in Abuja, such overtures were made, but that TUC was yet to receive an official request to halt its plan.

THISDAY gathered that government through the Minister of Power, Works and Housing has been making frantic efforts to persuade the TUC to soft-pedal on its quest to join the NLC to go on a nationwide strike. An effort many believed might have yielded positively, going by the delay in arriving at a definite date for the strike on the part of the organised labour.

Contrary, NLC officials denied any obstruction to the planned nationwide warning strike, NLC Head of Media and Information, Ben Upah, told THISDAY that there was no need to speculate about a possible crack among the organised labour, in their effort to reach a consensus on the strike.

Upah rather stated that “we have a process of consultation, it’s not just about a phone call, and there are several organs within the labour union. The president traveled out of the country; it is a process, so don’t insinuate anything about our silence, when there is nothing there,” he said.

Meanwhile, the National Association of Resident Doctors (NARD) wednesday said the 21-day ultimatum it gave the federal government stands, notwithstanding on-going talks with the government.

NARD’s first Vice President, Dr Kolawole Olajide, told THISDAY that the position of NARD, requesting that government address its demands on several salient issues within the health sector still stands.

Olajide informed THISDAY that though they met with the Minister of Health, Prof. Isaac Adewole, nothing has changed. “Talks are on, we met with the minister, and we are working on the issues. That doesn’t mean because the talks are on, we have shifted grounds,” he said.

Olajide maintained that “until government responds to our demands and actualise them; if at the expiration of the 21-day ultimatum, government fails to meet our demands, we will still go on strike. So, the status quo stands,” NARD first Vice President stressed.