The declaration of the industrial action did not go down well with the Organised Private Sector of Nigeria, which has warned the FG and labour of its wider implication on the economy.
It observed that the strike would truncate business activities and worsen the economic hardship Nigerians are facing.
The OPSN, in a statement, emphasised that the economy cannot afford a nationwide strike at a time like this, and called on the Federal Government and the labour unions to work hand-in-hand to avert the looming disruption of socio-economic activities in the country.
The OPS comprises the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria, the Nigerian Association of Chambers of Commerce, Industries, Mines and Agriculture, the Nigeria Employers Consultative Association, the Nigerian Association of Small and Medium Enterprises and the Nigerian Association of Small Scale Industrialists.
Having keenly watched the back-and-forth consultations between the government and the unions, the OPS noted that it is evident that the series of consultations have not yielded positive results, a development which sets the stage for the imminent industrial action.
The statement read in part, “We are worried that adequate consideration is not given to the dire situation of the economy and the devastating/disruptive impact that a nationwide strike will have on the country at this time.
“The government and labour need to understand that our economy is being de-marketed and the livelihood of the average Nigerian is being diminished by this incessant bickering.
‘’One is beginning to wonder if the wellbeing of more than 200 million Nigerians is being factored into their negotiations.”
It also implored the government to endeavour to re-engage the leadership of the unions and find an amicable ground to avert any disruption in business activities that will attend the nationwide strike.
The OPS stated, “Government should demonstrate good faith in keeping to its promises during the negotiations with labour and abstain from making promises they cannot or do not intend to keep.
“On the other hand, labour should do a realistic assessment of its demands within the context of prevailing economic realities and possibilities, while going the extra mile to indicate how its demands could be met.’’
The President of the National Association of Aircraft Pilots and Engineers, Elliot Ibie, said his colleagues would down tools in compliance with the NLC directive.
“Of course, we’d be joining the strike, we’re an affiliate of the NLC. We just finished a meeting; everybody is part of it.
Asked if activities at the airport will be grounded, he said, “Yes, everywhere.”
Similarly, the President of the National Union of Air Transport Employees, Ben Nnabue, confirmed the NUATE would also participate in the walkout.
He said, “Yes, we are an affiliate of NLC so we’d be joining the strike.”
But the Deputy President of the Air Transport Services Senior Staff Association of Nigeria, Emmanuel Jaja, said, “ATSSAN is under the Trade Union Congress, so we wait to get direction from our centre. As soon as we get directions from our labour centre which is the TUC national, we take it from there.’’
The Head of Media of the Maritime Workers Union of Nigeria, Mr John Ikemefule, also affirmed that maritime workers would shut down the ports and jetties from Tuesday.
He added, “It has been confirmed that the union will be joining the NLC and TUC to shut down the country from October 3rd. There will be a total and indefinite shutdown of the country. We are going to withdraw our members from jetties and terminals.’’
The President of the Association of Senior Staff of Banks, Insurance and Financial Institutions, Oluwole Olusoji, said, “As an affiliate of the Trade Union Congress, we are bound by the resolutions until otherwise advised.
“We, however, expect that the government will act in good not just by making public pronouncements but actualising such statements without delay.”
Meanwhile, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Tajudeen Abbas, has appealed to organised labour to shelve its planned industrial action owing to the economic challenges facing the nation.
Abbas, who made the plea during plenary, while welcoming lawmakers back from a two-month annual recess, expressed the commitment of the lawmakers to the welfare of the Nigerian workers through robust legislation and other critical interventions.
He noted that the challenges of meeting daily needs were the reason the NLC s “Seems to have lost patience with the painstaking effort of the government to plan and provide sustainable minimum wage and palliatives to citizens.”
“As the peoples’ representatives, we feel and equally share in the pains of our people at these very difficult times. However, I would like to appeal to the NLC to consider the various actions being taken by the Federal Government to alleviate the current hardship faced by Nigerians,’’ he said.
Abass assured that the 10th House would interface between the organised labour and the government to quickly work out a realistic new national minimum wage and other palliatives.
Admonishing his colleagues to prioritise the needs of Nigerians, the speaker noted that “When people are hungry and despondent, what is needed is a leadership with a clear vision, a leadership that daily, demonstrates its commitment and capacity to tackle the challenges at hand; a leadership that should be innovative in proffering short- and long-term solutions.
‘’That is what Nigerians need at this time and as representatives of the people, we must rise to the occasion. It is our considered opinion that embarking on a nationwide strike at this point will only aggravate an already bad situation.
‘’ I, therefore, urge the leadership of labour unions to give us the benefit of doubt and suspend any planned strike action while we engage the Executive.”
The Speaker urged his colleagues to get set to speedily treat the 2024 Appropriation Bill due for presentation in the weeks ahead, saying, “We must diligently consider the bill to ensure that it meets the needs of our constituents.”
In a similar vein, the pan-Yoruba socio-political organization, Afenifere, has called on the FG to find a solution to the economic crisis the country is facing in the light of the withdrawal of the fuel subsidy.
The group also urged the government to meet the demands of the NLC to avoid the planned industrial action.
This was contained in a communique issued after a meeting of the group held at the residence of its acting National Leader, Pa Ayo Adebanjo, in Isanya Ogbo, Ogun State, on Tuesday.