The planned strike action by the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) fell short of expectations as workers chose to pitch their tent with the federal government on new pump price of petrol.
On May 11, the federal government announced an increase in the pump price of petrol, citing the lack of foreign exchange to continue importation as its reason.
After the announcement, labour unions threatened to embark on industrial action if the government failed to back down on the hike in fuel price.
The government was able to pacify a faction of the NLC, but not the one led by Ayuba Wabba. The aggrieved faction encouraged workers to down tools.
WORKERS STICK WITH FG ON D-DAY
But the strike suffered a setback on Wednesday, as workers chose to go to their duty post, sticking with the advise of the government which asked them to ignore the industrial action.
Babachair Lawal, secretary to the government of the federation, had directed heads of government agencies to invoke “no work, no pay policy” on the day of the strike.
As at 8am in Lagos, workers had already reported at their duty post in the state secretariat, and the situation was the same at various banks across the state.
Though the NLC staged a protest to the Murtala Muhammed Airport, the team of protesters were stopped by men of the Nigerian Police Force, who said they were only upholding a court order to ensure orderliness in the state.
In Ado Ekiti, capital of Ekiti state, many workers stayed back home, following reports that some others were leading a protest to the government house, crippling workflow in the state.
There were demonstrations in some parts of Kwara and Ondo states. While federal and state workers in Katsina, Kano, Kaduna, Sokoto, and Kebbi reported to their duty posts in defiance of the NLC’s order.
In Sokoto, some civil servants said they would not join the strike because it would only aggravate current hardships in the country
“Such strikes would only aggravate our situation; the NLC should have given the federal government the benefit of the doubt,” Aliyu Musa, a worker at the Shehu Kangiwa secretariat, said.
Mathias Iliya, a federal worker said “no worker in his right senses will join the strike action”.
“Nigerians should be fervently prayerful and patient with the Buhari administration as his intentions towards Nigerians are truly sincere.”
At the Kaduna State University, normal academic activity was going on with students taking lectures.
Workers of the institution also turned out for work, and according to Adama Jafar, the university’s public relations officer, there was no directive from any union to proceed on strike.
Hajiya Bello, one of the workers, advised the NLC to respect the decision of the National Industrial Court, which ordered the union not to proceed with the strike.
Karim Ahmed, another worker, said most civil servants were conscious not to fall into the trap of “no work, no pay” as announced by the government.
Sarah Bijimi urged the NLC and Nigerians to be patient and support the federal government’s action, saying “with time things will get better”.
Jonathan Yohanna, a staff of the state ministry of health, said “we are not on strike, all our hospitals are functional and our officials are working”.
The state command of Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps, said it had deployed 600 personnel to guard strategic public installations in the state.
Orndiir Tergungwe, the command’s spokesman, said the move was to avoid breakdown of law and order during the period of the strike.
Yusuf Bala, a rice dealer, said “we don’t have confidence in NLC because at the end of every strike we don’t benefit from any relief”.
Maman Kobo, a provision seller, advised the labour union to “sit down and dialogue with government rather than embark on strike”.
The NLC however vowed to continue with the strike on Thursday, despite the poor outing recorded across the country.