Civil Servants in many states of the federation, including the federal Capital Territory, on Wednesday, defied the call for a nationwide strike by the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), with many of them turning up at their work places, some as early as 8am.
Our correspondent in the federal capital territory who visited the federal secretariat in Abuja at about 10 am, observed that many workers, including junior workers were at their desks.
Gates to all the ministries, Departments and Agencies at the Federal Secretariat were open and workers and visitors were seen going about their normal businesses.
In Bayelsa, the Secretariat was open and workers went about their normal duties.
Many of them said they were not sure whether the strike action was holding or not as there hasn’t been any communication to that effect by the state NLC executives.
Tonye Ayama is a staff of the Bayelsa State Ministry of Women Affairs. He said his office was open for work “but just few people have reported, due to the NLC strike… Though, right now we are in the office, nothing serious is going on, we are just hanging on. The state NLC is yet to address us; so, we are still waiting to hear from them, if they say there is strike, then we will go back to our houses.”
Meanwhile, some of the workers expressed disappointment that the two major labour unions in the country, namely the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and the Trade Union Congress (TUC), are not united on this issue of Petrol Price Hike.
But Chairman of the Bayelsa State chapter of TUC, Mr Tari Dounana, said the union was against the fuel price increase, adding however that the organised labour should show more unity and commitment in protecting the interests of Nigerian workers.
Mr Ndiomu John, Chairman of the State NLC chapter could not be reached as at the time of this report; as calls made to his phone did not go through
At the Federal Secretariat in Abuja, a staff of the ministry of power, Halima Mukhtar, asked why the NLC did not call for strike when there was no fuel at filling stations.
“Now that there is fuel at the filling stations, what is the point of going on strike?” She asked.
Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Babachir Lawal, had in a statement urged the Nigeria Labour Congress not to go ahead with the proposed nationwide strike, while assuring that government will guarantee the safety of workers and work places.
He added that acts of intimidation, harassment, including barricading of gates, locking up of offices and preventing workers from carrying out their lawful duties will be met with appropriate response by security operatives.
According to the statement, the federal government has directed all ministers, permanent secretaries and heads of government agencies to invoke the provision of “no work no pay” in respect of any staff who is absent.
The federal Government on Tuesday secured a court order from the National Industrial Court, stopping the NLC from calling out workers on strike.