Reps divided over NLC strike, resolves to intervene

Elizabeth AtimeNovember 15, 20233 min

Rep. Nzurigbo lamented that the NLC strike action is only making life more difficult for the masses and in no way affecting the elite.

The ongoing strike action by the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) saw the House of Representatives divided as activities in the country remain grounded.

The lawmakers were debating a motion urging the House to intervene in the issue, sponsored by Deputy Speaker Rep. Benjamin Kalu. at Tuesday’s plenary.

Recall that the NLC, along with the Trade Union Congress (TUC), are protesting the alleged assault on the NLC President, Joe Ajaero, by suspected thugs in Owerri, Imo State, on Wednesday, November 1.

In his contribution, the Minority leader, Rep. Kingsley Chinda (PDP, Rivers) suggested the House defer all matters to enable it address the issue of the strike.

“I will want to say that the House should consider stepping down every business of the House to look into this issue. I therefore appeal to labour to consider the overall interest of Nigerians first before any personal interest. Allow our leaders, the Speaker and the able Senate President to wade into this matter.”

READ ALSO: NLC STRIKE: Lawmakers shut out of NASS complex

Also, the Majority Leader, Rep. Julius Ihonvbere (APC, Edo) who noted that the Federal Government has made efforts to engage the labour body, especially as it is to do with subsidy removal, urged the leadership of the NLC to call of the strike action.

As a former union leader, I will say that in this particular issue, the government has been engaging labour to fine tune the issue of subsidy removal. I know the government has never hidden its interest in dialogue. This is not the first time the current labour leadership will be engaging in non labour strike issues. Labour should call their men and women back and allow the full law to take it’s course.

On his part, Rep. Ojema Ojotu (PDP, Benue) cautioned the House against undermining the power of the labor union and advised that the Federal Government address the body’s grievances.

“We can never at any time say anything to undermine the powers of labour. However, I want to say that you cannot use power to quench fire. The government must do everything to intervene in this issue. Let’s not be seen to be taken sides.”

In the same vein, Rep. Ugunna Nzurigbo (APC, Imo) bemoaned the strike action notiing that it is mostly affecting the masses.

“We condemn the strike action by the Nigeria Labour Congress in Imo State. What impact has this strike had on the elite? It is the ordinary Nigerians that continue to suffer and the innocent people of Imo State for 14 days. We the people of Imo State condemn the labour strike because the people over there are really suffering. So I support the motion by the Deputy Speaker, Benjamin Kalu. The people are really suffering over there.”

Also recall that the parliamentary Staff Association of Nigerian PASAN in solidarity with the NLC, on Tuesday, locked all entry gates into the National Assembly complex forcing lawmakers and staff of the National Assembly, including journalists to use the office of the Secretary General of the Federation’s gate and other less-used entrances to gain access to the NASS complex

The motion was unanimously adopted when the presiding officer Speaker Tajudeen Abbas put the question and the matter was referred to the Committee on Labour and the Leader of the House is expected to take part in the negotiation NLC.

Elizabeth Atime

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