NLC And The Fire Next Time!

Wednesday’s suspension of the strike called by both the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and the Trade Union Congress (TUC) to protest against the assault on the NLC President, Comrade Joe Ajaero, came as cheering news as the discontinuation of the strike by the workers’ unions provided a momentary respite for the Federal Government that fought hard to ensure the workers rescinded their decision to commence the strike.

It is condemnable for the NLC President to be assaulted, few days to the governorship poll in Imo State during protest by Imo workers over Governor Hope Uzodinma’s refusal to pay salaries and allowances to the state workers as at when due. That Ajaero who hails from Imo and was demonstrating partisanship  ahead of the governorship poll was not enough reason to assault him.


The fire this time

Many Nigerians were horrified when pictures of the brutalised labour leader were uploaded on various social media platforms. The police were condemned when they attempted to be economical with the truth when they declared that they took the NLC President into protective custody so as to avoid political thugs unleashing terror on him. The NLC President would later accuse the police of arresting and handing him over to thugs who assaulted him. From both accounts, and subsequent arrest of Ajaero’s attackers, as confirmed by the National Security Adviser (NSA), Mallam Nuhu Ribadu, it became clear that the police were only trying to hide a cow under the table.

Yielding to pressure from the public, the leaders of organised labour summarily suspended the industrial action and demanded on the government to tackle the challenges faced by workers and poor Nigerians as enunciated by both unions. The threat by labour to call out workers for a protest is an enormous tool of coercion often employed in labour negotiations, especially in a country where there are gross deficits in political leadership. Despite claims by some analysts that labour unions are an extension of some political interests, realities on ground portray the need to salvage the suffering masses and the need to protect them from strangulating actions of government.

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