Subsidy Removal: Organized Labour In Massive Mobilisation Of Workers for Indefinite Strike
The Organised Labour comprising the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and Trade Union Congress (TUC) have concluded massive mobilisation of their members and affiliates for a nationwide indefinite strike starting from Tuesday, October 3, 2023.
The development was sequel to the boycott of a meeting scheduled by the federal government on Friday as the last move to avert the impending strike.
Already, the Labour unions have maintained their stand that there was no going back on the planned strike action.
The two Labour centres, which announced the strike action after a joint press conference on Tuesday in Abuja, said the strike was a result of the federal government’s failure to address the suffering and hardship of Nigerians caused by the removal of fuel subsidy and other anti-poor policies of the President Bola Tinubu administration.
They also accused the government of refusing to engage in a meaningful and constructive dialogue with them despite the 21-day ultimatum and the subsequent two-day warning strike of September 5 and 6.
Consequently, in separate memos issued by the different affiliate Unions sighted by LEADERSHIP on Saturday evening, workers across the board were directed to ensure total compliance with the NLC/TUC shutdown directive beginning October 3.
Affiliate Unions like Radio, Television, Theatre and Arts Workers Union of Nigeria (RATTAWU) in a notification to its state councils resolved to embark on the nationwide indefinite strike.
The RATTAWU memo read: “As a follow-up to the just concluded meeting of the National Executive Council (NEC) of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) which was held on Tuesday 26th September 2023, it was resolved that all affiliates of the Congress should embark on a nationwide indefinite strike action which should be total, with effect from Tuesday 3 October, 2023. In other words, there shall be no operations in our sectors throughout the period of the action.”
Also, the Nigerian Union of Allied Health Professionals (UAMP) issued similar directive to all its members in compliance with NLC/TUC directive.
Other affiliate Unions, who issued similar directive to their members, include; Pharmacists, Physiotherapists, Medical Laboratory Scientists, Imaging Scientists/Radiographers, Medical Social Workers, Optometrists, Clinical Psychologists, Orthotics/Prosthetics, Speech Therapists, and Medical Physicists, among others.
Also mobilizing for the shutdown in the health sector is the National Association of Nigeria Nurses and Midwives (NANNM).
In a memo by NANNM, the Association said, “I am directed to convey the decision of Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) National Executive Council (NEC) meeting to commence nationwide indefinite industrial action with effect from Tuesday 3rd October 2023.”
In the education sector, Colleges of Education Academic Staff Union (COEASU ) has begun mobilisation for the strike in earnest.
According to a memo, the COEASU leadership said, “The Leadership of the Union was in attendance at the emergency NLC NEC meeting of Tuesday 26th September 2023. The meeting, which was attended by NLC affiliates, discussed the failure of government to meet the demands of the Labour Union in the face of current economic reality.
“It is in the light of the foregoing that all affiliates in attendance unanimously agreed to commence an indefinite strike action on the 3 October, 2023, All Chapters are hereby directed by this notice to comply accordingly.”
Also, Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities (SSANU) has also concluded mobilisation for the strike.
According to a memo signed by the Senior Assistant Secretary of the Association, Comrade Kingsley Okayi, the Association said, “I am directed to formally forward the Notice of Indefinite Nationwide Strike (see attached circular) organized by the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC). The strike action is scheduled to commence on Tuesday 3rd October, 2023
“Consequent upon the above, all Branch Chairpersons are requested to commence full mobilization of our members to actively participate in the strike that is being organized by NLC. You are therefore directed to liaise with your respective State Council of NLC for proper and effective mobilization, coordination and active participation. Also send a regular report of your participation to the National Secretariat.”
Other unions in the sector that have completed plans to join the strike in include; the Senior Staff Association of Nigeria Polytechnics (SSANIP), among others.
Also, the National Union of Electricity Employees (NAUEE), National Union of Banks, Insurance & Financial Institutions Employees, The Amalgamated Union of Public Corporation, Civil Service Technical and Recreational Services Employees (AUPCTRE), and Nigeria Union of Public Service, Reportorial, Secretarial, Data Processors and Allied Workers are among the unions that have concluded plans to join the strike.
Others are the Parliamentary Staff Association of Nigeria (PASAN), Nigeria Union of Petroleum and Gas Workers (NUPENG), and National Union of Civil Engineering Construction, Furniture and Wood Workers, and many more.
LEADERSHIP recalls that the organised Labour is demanding specially wage awards for public workers and a new minimum wage, tax exemptions and allowances to public sector workers, provision of Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) buses, release of modalities for the N70billion for Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) and immediate reversal of all anti-poor policies of the federal government.
The two labour congresses have already urged Nigerians o brace up for a long strike and use between this Saturday and Monday to stockpile foodstuff and other necessities.
Several appeals by the Minister of Labour and Employment, Simon Lalong, to the NLC leadership to shelve the planned strike fell on deaf ears as the organised Labour rejected the appeal, saying they will embark on the strike until their demands were fully met.
They also warned that any attempt by the government to use force or intimidation of court orders to stop the strike will be resisted by workers and Nigerians.
Credit: Adegwu John