The Organised Private Sector of Nigeria has warned that the Trade Union Congress’ planned strike, slated for Monday, poses a significant threat to the nation’s economy.

The OPSN, in a statement on Sunday signed by the Director-General of the Nigeria Employers Consultative Association, Mr Wale Oyerinde, called on the Federal Government and the labour unions to work assiduously to avert the looming disruption of socioeconomic activities in the country.

 The Organised Private Sector of Nigeria comprises five business membership organisations, namely: Manufacturers Association of Nigeria; Nigerian Association of Chambers of Commerce, Industries, Mines and Agriculture; Nigeria Employers Consultative Association; the Nigerian Association of Small and Medium Enterprises and Nigerian Association of Small-Scale Industrialists.

 The body argued that the economic indicators were not currently good, noting the economy cannot afford a nationwide strike at this time.

He said, “We have keenly watched the back-and-forth consultations between the government on the one hand and the National Labour Congress (NLC) and Trade Union Congress of Nigeria (TUC).

 “It is evident that the series of consultations between the Federal Government and the labour unions have not yielded positive results and the latter has resolved, in one way or the other, to go ahead with the protest/strike.”

OPSN stressed that adequate consideration was not given to the dire situation of the economy and the devastating/disruptive impact that a nationwide strike would have on the country.

“The government and labour need to understand that our economy is being de-marketed, and the livelihood of the average Nigerian is being diminished by this incessant bickering. One is beginning to wonder if the well-being of more than 200 million Nigerians is being factored into their negotiations,” it said.

Meanwhile, the body said while recognising the right of the labour unions to pursue the welfare of their members, it implored the government to employ its best endeavours to re-engage the leadership of the unions and find an amicable ground to avert the imminent disruption in business activities that would attend the protest and nationwide strike.

It added that adequate consideration should be given to the dire state of the economy and the possible unintended consequences of social unrest that may result from the protests.

 “We urge the management to be circumspective in their business operations, as we continue to intervene in last-minute attempts to avert the strike, adequate measures should be taken to protect company assets and contingency plans are made to keep business afloat,” it noted.

According to the OPSN, it is important to begin to have a conversation about how the labour unions and the government can resolve their issues without jeopardising the livelihood of the average Nigerian and truncating their business projection and activities.

It urged the government to demonstrate good faith in keeping to its promises during the negotiations and abstain from making promises it cannot or do not intend to keep.

It also appealed to labour to carry out a realistic assessment of its demands, within the context of prevailing economic realities, while going the extra mile to indicate how its demands could be met.

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