By Nosa Alekhuogie
The Nigeria Employers’ Consultative Association (NECA) has condemned the planned strike by the organised labour following the hike in pump price of petrol.
The organisation also expressed its full support for the partial deregulation of the downstream sector of the oil and gas industry.
NECA said that the policy was a crucial first step in the resolution of the perennial dependence of Nigeria on imported petroleum products.
Speaking in Lagos, the Director General, Mr. Olusegun Oshinowo, praised the federal government for the courage it has demonstrated, which past administrations had unwittingly shied away from, by embracing a policy option that will jump start significant reform in the downstream sector that would impact positively on the economy both in the short and long terms.
He said as key actors in the economy, and participants at various committees of the government in the past on the subject at stake, NECA deplored the usual resort of organised labour to threat of strike to impose its position even when such would be to the long term detriment of the economy as we have seen over the year with the subsidy regime.
The Director General: “One stakeholder’s interest should not loom larger than several other stakeholders’ and should not be pushed through an illegal strike on an issue outside the primary mandate of the custodian of the interest.
He added: “Government’s policy on oil and gas is not an employment and labour issue, and should not be a basis for a national strike. Organised labour should instead focus on how to improve the welfare of its members through wage discussion and related matters.”
Speaking further, Oshinowo enjoined employees in the private sector to ignore any directive from NLC/ TUC and go about their normal duties.” He reminded workers to understand that “it is in the interest of both the employer and workers to ensure and sustain business survival as their wages are not dependent on government’s budgetary appropriation or monthly allocation as any involvement in such a strike will certainly imperil their job and income security, particularly at a very difficult time like this. ’’Beyond applying the law of no work ‘no work, no pay’, employers will take strong exception at any employee that fails to report for work as from Wednesday.”
Oshinowo appealed to the federal government and heads of the various security agencies to ensure that adequate security is put in place for workers to commute between their homes and different places of work. ’’We once again appeal to the generality of Nigerians to shun any call by Organised Labour to shut down our economy. This is one strike we can least afford’’, NECA declared.