The Nigeria Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers, NUPENG, yesterday said loading of products, including aviation fuel, would stop from today as affiliates of United Labour Congress of Nigeria, ULC, begin an indefinite strike.
Also, electricity workers, on the platform of National Union of Electricity Employees, NUEE, National Association of Aircraft Pilots and Engineers, NAAPE, and National Union of Railway Workers, have also asked members to down tools and join the strike. However, leaders of the National Union of Banks, Insurance and Financial Employees, NUBIFIE, said members may not effectively join the strike today because the union just concluded its delegates conference weekend, warning, however, that members would fully join should the strike persist.
But the Nigerian Labour Congress, NLC, and Trade Union Congress, TUC, insisted yesterday that the ULC was fake, since it was not recognized by government, and urged Nigerians to ignore the group. Similarly, the Federal Ministry of Labour also held on to its earlier position that the ULC was not recognized by the Federal Government. The Presidency, through the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, said last night that the Presidency stands by the Labour Minister’s position that the ULC is not recognised by the Federal Government.
However, leaders of Steel and Engineering Workers of Nigeria, SEWUN, Iron and Steel Senior Staff Association of Nigeria, ISSSAN, National Union of Lottery Agents and Employees,Nigerian Union of Mine Workers, Association of Nigerian Aviation Professionals, Private Telecommunications and Communications Senior Staff Association of Nigeria, Metal Product Senior Staff Association of Nigeria, Fitters Senior Staff Association of Nigeria, National Union of Shop and Distributive Employees and Academic Staff Union of Research Institute, among others, said their members would fully comply with the strike directive by the national leadership of ULC.
Speaking yesterday, Lagos State Chairman of ULC and Lagos zonal chairman of NUPENG, Tokunbo Korodo, said though there was skeletal loading of products weekend, there will be total shut down of all loading activities by members today. “What that means is that we are not going to load products across the country, including aviation fuel, from today until there is counter directive from the national leaders of our umbrella body, the ULC,’’ he said.
Similarly General Secretary of NAAPE, Ocheme Aba, said members will fully comply with the strike, noting that that the strike would be handled strategically. “We are not going to confront anybody, but I can assure you that you will definitely feel the impact of the action,” he said.
In the same vein, Delta State Council of ULC has directed all affiliates in the state to immediately commence total withdrawal of services from today, in compliance with the resolutions of national leadership of the labour centre. Chairman of the council, Comrade Williams Akporeha, said : “We are not deterred but only very worried to hear this sort of comment from respected government officials who allowed undemocratic forces to corrupt and cripple the NLC. “On behalf of the national leadership of congress, all our members in Delta State are hereby directed to proceed on an indefinite industrial action with immediate effect without fear of intimidation and harassment. “We shall continue to monitor compliance and effectiveness until the Federal Government meets our demands already sent to the appropriate agents of government.”