By Douglas Okoro
Abakaliki, June 5, 2023 Civil servants in the employ of the Ebonyi Government have appealed to the leadership of the organised labour to dialogue with the Federal Government in resolving the dispute arising from petrol subsidy removal.
A cross-section of the workers, who spoke in separate interviews with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) said that dialogue would yield better results than confrontation.
According to the respondents, strike by workers at a time the country’s economy was in turmoil would exacerbate the already distressed economy.
They noted that dialogue was the best way to get the government to listen to the demands of the workers and urged labour to shelve the proposed nationwide indefinite strike in the interest of the nation’s economy.
Mr Clement Ofoke, a member of staff in the Ministry of Works and Housing, appealed to the national leadership of the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) and its counterparts in the Trade Union Congress (TUC) to seek dialogue with the federal government.
“Strike will put the nation’s economy in lockdown and it’s the masses like you and I will bear the brunt of any economic lockdown in the country.
“Presently, the ordinary citizen is finding it difficult to cope with the harsh economic situation caused by the recent jerk in petrol pump prices that resulted in the astronomical increase in prices of goods and services.
” So, any strike action now will make the situation even worst and the common man including civil servants will be the worst hit,” Ofoke said.
Mr Ephrain Onyibe another civil servant disagreed with the manner the fuel subsidy removal was announced by President Bola Tinubu but urged the organised labour to give the new administration a chance to fix the economy.
“It is better to jaw-jaw than to war-war. Dialogue is the best approach to solving the current faceoff between labour and the Federal Government.
“The administration is still very young and I think that the best we can make as citizens is to support the administration to steer the country to economic greatness.
“Though the subsidy withdrawal has affected the socio-economic lives of the Nigerian citizens, especially the low-income earners, but, we all need to make some sacrifices to better the economy,” Onyibe said.
Mrs Veronica Onwe, a member of staff of the Ministry of Agriculture and Natural Resources urged the government to take necessary steps to avert the looming national strike saying that the labour strike was an ill wind.
“FG must listen to the demands of the organised labour and act fast to stave off the impending strike because the strike is an ill wind that blows no one any good.
“I don’t want the strike to hold because it will further plunge the economy into deeper distress, so, I’m appealing to the government to listen to the demand for labour,” Onwe said.
She stated that the transportation fare and prices of essential goods and services had more than tripled since the federal government announced the end of the fuel subsidy regime on May 29.
“The least you can pay to a cyclist (Okada man) for a ‘drop’ ranges between N200 and N1000 as against N50 and N300 before subsidy removal,” she added.
Naija247news reports that Tinubu during his inaugural speech on May 29, announced the end of the fuel subsidy regime resulting in an instantaneous increase in the petrol pump price.
The organised labour in reaction urged the federal government to revert to the status quo and fixed Wednesday, June 7 to begin a nationwide indefinite strike should the the government failed to heed its demand.