Workers, business community oppose strike, demand services

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Civil servants, the business community and parents in Damaturu, Yobe, on Thursday condemned the Nigeria Labour Congress  (NLC) warning strike which began on Thursday,  describing it as grossly unnecessary and counter productive.

A cross section of the respondents, who spoke to newsmen, noted that schools and other public institutions in the state were still providing services in spite of the directive by the NLC for workers to embark on warning strike.

Abdullahi Musa, a civil servant, said: “Time has come for the trade unions to be decentralized for every state to face its peculiar problems, to avoid holding the country to ransom of unnecessary strike.

“Some state and local government workers have not been paid salaries for several months, NLC has never intervened but they drag every state into problems affecting federal civil servants; that is gross injustice.

“Similarly, the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) does not fight for the staff of state owned universities but pull state universities into affairs of federal-owned universities, it shouldn’t be so.”

Alhaji Bukar Kaku, a businessman, said strikes had always been an exercise in futility, warning that it would affect the economy badly.

“We should concentrate on issues that would promote the economy and not harmful acts,” Kaku said.

Hajara Umar, a mother of five, said the strike would only have negative impact on the lives of the poor.

“We are currently faced with increased cases of cholera and malaria in Yobe, the strike would only worsen the situation.”

Mr Ibrahim Lawan, Yobe NLC Chairman, told reporters that although workers in the state had no pending case with the state government, the union issued the directive for the  strike because it was a national issue.

He said the union was wary of peculiarities and challenges of the state and would avoid issues that may spring confrontation.

“The peculiarities and challenges of the state are quite enormous; we have to be considerate, especially in critical areas of health, water supply and others to avoid total collapse that may invite chaos.

“We are looking at how we can manage the situation and we call on government to find a away of resolving the problem, we shouldn’t be talking about industrial action now, especially as we approach the general elections,” Lawan said.

(NAN)

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