EXCLUSIVE: How FG used ‘Emotional Blackmail’ to lure Labour into suspending nationwide strike

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In a dramatic turn of events, accusations have arisen regarding the tactics employed by the federal government to coerce the leadership of the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) and the Trade Union Congress (TUC) into terminating their industrial strike action.

The strategy in question, dubbed “emotional blackmail,” entails leveraging an individual or group’s fears, guilt, or sense of duty to compel compliance with demands.

On Monday night, representatives from both labor unions convened with government officials to resume discussions regarding the implementation of a new minimum wage for workers.

Among those present at the meeting were Mohammed Idris, Minister of Information and National Orientation; Nkeiruka Onyejeocha, Minister of State for Labour and Employment; Mallam Nuhu Ribadu from the Office of the National Security Adviser; alongside Joe Ajaero, President of NLC, and Festus Osifo, President of TUC, among others.

Sources privy to the meeting disclosed to THE WHISTLER that government representatives implored the labor leaders to exhibit patriotism by halting the strike, citing potential national disgrace and inconvenience.

Specifically, it was relayed to the labor leaders that the strike’s continuation would result in the stranding of Nigerian pilgrims en route to Saudi Arabia for the Hajj pilgrimage, as all airport operations would be indefinitely suspended.

According to insider accounts, the government urged the suspension of the strike for a one-week period to allow for the formulation of a substantial minimum wage proposal, considering the imminent departure of Hajj pilgrims.

Furthermore, concerns were raised about the potential disruption to international sports engagements, including Nigeria’s 2026 World Cup qualifying match against South Africa’s Bafana Bafana. With the strike jeopardizing airport operations, the absence of the South African team could lead to Nigeria forfeiting three crucial points in the match scheduled for Friday, June 7, 2024, at the Godswill Akpabio Stadium in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State.

In response to these pressures, the joint leadership of NLC and TUC announced the suspension of the nationwide strike on Tuesday.

The decision to call off the strike comes amidst fervent debate regarding the ethicality of employing emotional manipulation tactics to influence labor negotiations, raising questions about the balance between national interests and the rights of workers.

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