President Jonathan was speaking at the commencement of a housing scheme for workers in Abuja He adviced labour unions to explore all avenues for resolving conflicts before embarking on strike.
He said, “We believe that before declaring an industrial action, all avenues for resolving it must be exploited. We are smiling today because we passed through some painful negotiations. Nothing good comes easy. So, for us to smile, there must be some painful things to pass through.
“If there are issues, let us discuss. This administration means well for everybody. This administration believes that the country belongs to all of us. That I am the President today does not make me feel like I have a stake in Nigeria more than the man working in the garden. We all have equal stake in Nigeria.
“I beg Nigerians to allow me to serve for a period and go and this will not make me more important than any other Nigerian. Therefore, what is painful to the worker is also painful to us. Let us negotiate, let us discuss and make sure we don’t punish our people more by unnecessary industrial actions over issues that can be resolved.
“Whenever there is a crisis, it is the workers that suffer. If there is a little problem, we should be able to resolve it peacefully. But when workers now go to the extreme and declare war, it is the workers that suffer the most.
“Nigerian workers in all the states of the federation and local governments are paying more for transport to go to work because of the current strike by oil workers.
“Their children also pay more to go to school. Their wives and relations pay more to go to the market and other places. Who loses more? It is the workers.”