By Adekola Afolabi, News Editor
The national leaderships of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and the Trade Union Congress (TUC) have directed all their members across the country to join the nationwide industrial action.
However, workers in Ondo State yesterday, shunned the strike as investigation by The Hope revealed that normal office activities continued in all Ministries, Departments and Agencies of government.
The organised labour had directed its members to commence a nationwide strike starting from midnight, Tuesday 14, November, over the alleged assault on NLC President, Joe Ajaero.
The Organised Labour called on all affiliates to implement the resolutions of the joint National Executive Council of TUC and NLC.
President of TUC, Festus Osifo, who addressed reporters on Monday, said the strike would remain until “governments wake up to their responsibility.”
The labour directive is, however, contrary to the National Industrial Court order restraining the labour centres and their affiliates from embarking on any form of strike.
Earlier, on Tuesday, a visit to some MDAs in Akure, Ondo State capital showed that workers were also in high spirits to perform their duties in their various offices.
The Alagbaka State Secretariat which is usually beehive of official activities did not go less as workers were performing their normal activities in various duty posts.
Earlier, the State Government Palliative vehicles conveying workers were seen conveying workers from various points to their respective MDAs.
Both private and public schools did not also join on the first day of the strike
It was also revealed that commercial banks were opened for business transactions, even as customers, who were already apprehensive for fear of being shut out, were able to perform their transaction with ease.
Speaking with The Hope on Tuesday, some civil servants including Sunday Adewale and Tosin Babalola, said there was no directive yet from the state labour leaders to join the national strike.
However, on Tuesday evening, members of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and the Trade Union Congress (TUC) announced joining the indefinite nationwide Strike as directed by the national secretariats of the two unions.
A joint statement signed by the State NLC Chairman, Comrade Victor Amoko and his TUC counterpart, Comrade Clement Fatuase, advised workers in the State to appropriately comply with the strike directive.
Both NLC and TUC leadership as well as the State JNC Chairman, Comrade Ademola Olapade said the strike is basically on issues that affect the attack on the NLC President, Comrade Joe Ajaero and non-implementation of some agreement reached with the Federal Government aftermath of fuel subsidy removal.
The organised labour insisted that the strike is not against the Ondo State government, but to protest against impunity in the country.
The leadership called on all affiliate executives to ensure strict compliance with the directive of the national body until the matter is resolved.
Workers in other states including Osun had joined immediately, even as Kwara and Kebbi States recorded partial compliance.
However, a statement by Bayo Onanuga, the Special Adviser to the President on Information & Strategy said the strike action is not in the national interest.
“We notice with dismay the decision by the Nigerian Labour Congress and Trade Union Congress to call out workers to commence a strike action from midnight, despite a restraining order issued last week by Justice Benedict Backwash Kanyip of the National Industrial Court.
“This decision by the NLC and TUC other than being an ego tripping move is clearly unwarranted. It is an attempt to blackmail the government by the leadership of the NLC. We are still at a loss as to why the NLC and TUC decided to punish a whole country of over 200million people over a personal matter involving the NLC President, Mr. Joe Ajaero, whose error of judgment led to assault on him in Owerri while he was planning to incite the workers in Imo State into a needless strike.
“While the Federal government does not condone any form of violence and assault on any citizen of Nigeria regardless of his or her social and economic status, it is on record that the Inspector General of Police has ordered investigation into what happened to Mr. Ajaero while the Commissioner of Police in Imo State under whose watch the incident happened has been transferred out of the state.
“Calling out workers on a national strike over a personal issue of a labour leader despite a clear court order against any industrial action amounts to an abuse of privilege. Power at any level should never be used to settle personal scores. Rather, it should be used to promote collective progress and advance national interest.
“Our national economy and social activities should not suffer because of the personal interest of any labour leader. This flagrant disobedience to court order and lack of respect for the judiciary should not be what the organised Labour would champion.The labour movement has always been a champion of rule of law and respect for the judiciary,’ he said