Abbas appeals to labour unions not to embark on indefinite strike

Speaker of the House of Representatives Tajudeen Abbas

The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Rep. Tajudeen Abbas, has appealed to the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) not to embark on its planned strike action.

In his welcome remarks at the resumption of plenary on Tuesday, Abbas pledged that the house would engage and support the Executive to resolve the current economic hardship in the country.

The parliamentarian explained that embarking on strike will only make the situation worse for all Nigerians urging the union to consider ongoing efforts to improve the economy.

Following the removal of fuel subsidy and the accompanied economic hardships, the union had demanded sustainable minimum wage and palliatives to citizens.

The union had issued a 21-day ultimatum upon its expiration at midnight today, will embark on indefinite strike.

According to Abbas, as the peoples’ representatives, we feel and equally share in the pains of our people at these very difficult times.

“However, I would like to appeal to the NLC to consider the various actions being taken by the Federal Government to alleviate the current hardship faced by Nigerians.

“As promised earlier, this house remains committed to getting a survival wage to all Nigerian workers.

“The 10th House had assured Nigerians that we would be interfacing between the organised labour and the government to quickly work out a realistic new national minimum wage.

“Also other palliatives to enable citizens cope with the economic impact of fuel subsidy removal, the downward fall of the naira to the dollar, skyrocketing cost of food and general high cost of living in the country.

“It is in our considered opinion that embarking on a nationwide strike at this point will only aggravate an already bad situation.

“I therefore urge the leadership of Labour Unions to give us the benefit of doubt and suspend any planned strike action while we engage the executive,” he said.

The speaker charged the lawmakers to turn the tide of woes and gloom of the nation as their offices present them with the opportunities and prospects to do so.

He said President Bola Tinubu had recorded a huge diplomatic and economic breakthrough with the United Arab Emirates which would see the resumption of issuance of visa to Nigerians by the UAE and the return of Emirates Airlines to Nigerian skies.

He said that Tinubu had equally recorded some major economic agreements in India following the productive outing at the recently concluded 78 General Assembly of the United Nations.

“In the coming days, the Executive arm of government is expected to present a 2023 Supplementary Appropriation Bill as well as the 2024 Appropriation Bill to this Honourable House.

“It is expected that the time to consider these bills will be short, but we must roll-up our sleeves and get to work immediately and ensure the speedy consideration that will encapsulate the yearnings of the people.

“We have to put in extra work hours to ensure that the budget is passed in good time to enable its implementation from the first day of the 2024.

“Our nation and indeed this 10th House of the People does not have the luxury of time in the face of profound national challenges.

“We must therefore do everything within our powers to champion causes towards addressing the yearnings of our people,” he said

The speaker directed all ad hoc Committees to conclude their assignments and submit their reports on or before October, 3 as they will all cease to exist after the ultimatum.

He said any of the committees that is unable to conclude its assignment on the date, such tasks shall be yielded to the relevant Standing Committees.

Abbas announced the creation of three additional committees on State and Local Government, Traditional Institutions and Petroleum Resources.

“This brings the total number of House Committees to 137. We equally created 13 more Parliamentary Friendship Groups to facilitate and deepen our capacity development and peer learning,” he said. (NAN)