By Adegwu John, Leadership Newspaper
Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and Trade Union Congress of Nigeria (TUC) have declared an indefinite nationwide strike to protest the federal government’s failure to implement palliative measures following the removal of fuel subsidy.
The strike which is expected to commence by midnight on Tuesday, 3rd October 2023, will paralyze economic activities in the country as the Labour centers have directed members to withdraw their services.
NLC national president, Comrade Joe Ajaero, and Comrade Festus Osifo, the TUC national president at a joint briefing after their separate National Executive Councils (NEC ) meetings yesterday in Abuja said that the federal government has continued to grandstand and forestall all avenues to peaceful dialogue with organized Labour on ways to save Nigerians from the huge hunger and suffering experienced across the nation as a result of the hike in the price of petrol.
They also directed all affiliates and state councils to immediately start mobilizing for street protests and rallies in their government to respond positively to their demands.
The organized Labour stressed that the federal government has also failed to demonstrate its willingness to take positive steps to mitigate massive hardship on the impoverished citizens of Nigeria.
The industrial action came after the NLC had embarked on a two-day warning strike earlier on 5 and 6 September 2023 and a 21-day ultimatum which ended on Friday last week.
Although the federal government has severally appealed to the Labour to shelve the indefinite strike the latest development indicates the determination of the organized Labour to pursue the cause of the Nigerian masses.
Already the organized private sector in the country and some civil society organizations have kicked against the strike, expressing fear that the industrial action would further impoverish workers and worsen the ailing economy.
The appeal however didn’t go down well with the organized Labour as they insisted that the grace period given by the two Labour centers have expired.
“The federal government has therefore not met in any substantial way, the demands of Nigerian workers and peoples as previously canvassed in our mutually agreed roadmap to salvaging the economy and protecting workers and Nigerians from the monumental hardship.
The NLC and TUC NEC -in-session resolved to in the spirit of the Independence Day celebration and to demonstrate our resolve for a truly independent Nigeria to take our destinies in our own hands and rescue our nation”, the labor leaders said.
They added, “To embark on an indefinite and total shutdown of the nation beginning on zero hours Tuesday, the 3rd day of October 2023 and to direct all workers in Nigeria to withdraw their services from their respective workplaces commencing from the 3rd of October.
“All affiliates and state councils to immediately start mobilizing accordingly for action to organize street protests and rallies until the government responds positively to our demands, we enjoin all patriotic Nigerians to join hands across the nation to assist this government in putting the people back at the center of its policies and programs,” the unions said.