Nigeria’s two main worker groups, the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and the Trade Union Congress of Nigeria (TUC), have announced a non-stop strike beginning October 3. They want the national government to solve severe problems and difficulties in the country caused by removing fuel subsidies.
This decision was made even though the national government promised to finalize wage awards, a major request from the worker leaders. After separate urgent meetings, leaders of both groups asked Nigerians to prepare for a long strike and to gather food and other needed things from yesterday until next Monday.
The message was delivered together by the presidents of NLC and TUC, Joe Ajaero and Festus Osifo, in Abuja. They instructed local councils and members of both groups to get ready and gather members and supporters for a total strike.
Why NLC initiated the strike
The unions have declared the ongoing strike due to what they see as the government’s lack of concern for the struggles of workers and other citizens, stemming from the removal of the petrol subsidy and the persistent lack of effort to address the repercussions of this removal and other severe economic policies.
They also accuse the government of repressing their actions with police force and running a smear campaign against union leaders on social media. They are urging all workers in Nigeria to stop working starting October 3 and are instructing all associated groups and local councils to begin preparations for street protests and rallies immediately, continuing until the government meets their demands.
The unions are also calling on all dedicated Nigerians nationwide to unite to help the government refocus its policies and programs on the well-being of the people.
The federal government has requested the unions to cancel the upcoming strike; however, the unions are steadfast in their decision. It is uncertain how the government will react to the strike, but it’s expected to considerably affect the economy and disrupt the lives of millions of Nigerians.
Ajaero initially announced a strike starting Oct 1st
On Tuesday, NLC announced that organized labor is resolved to completely shut down the country starting October 1. This statement was made by Joe Ajaero, the President of the NLC, during the body’s National Executive Council (NEC) meeting.
Ajaero revealed that a meeting between the NLC and the TUC is scheduled for later in the day, at which a joint press conference will be addressed, confirming that the decision is final and irrevocable.
He said “We agreed that by October 1, barring any other developments, everybody will stay at home, no movements on the roads and the air.” said.
Business community expresses displeasure at the looming strike
On Friday, the business community raised concerns, stating that the proposed nationwide strike by organized labor regarding workers’ welfare would be detrimental to both the country and its economy at the present moment.
The NLC had previously given the federal government a 21-day ultimatum to introduce measures to alleviate the sufferings caused by the removal of the petrol subsidy. This ultimatum expired on Friday.
The Congress is advocating for a reevaluation of the minimum wage, tax exemptions, and additional benefits for public sector employees, among other requests. As the deadline has concluded, apprehensions arise regarding the possibility of organized labor unions commencing an indefinite strike. However, the unions have not yet made any official declarations regarding such a strike.
Nevertheless, the business sector expresses its distress, emphasizing that any intentional economic deceleration such as the strike could have severe repercussions on the country and the vast majority of its inhabitants.
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