The Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC, yesterday threatened to shut down the economy starting with a two-day warning strike next week due to what it described as the extensive hardships and deprivation afflicting the citizens across all states of the federation.
The warning strike, the union said will take place on Tuesday, September 5 and Wednesday, September 6.
The decision was reached after the National Executive Council, NEC, meeting of the Congress on Thursday. The NLC raised the alarm over what it described as a renewed onslaught by the government and its agents against labour unions.
Reading the resolution in Abuja, the President of NLC, Joe Ajaero explained that the proposed strike action was necessitated as a result of the government’s deliberate neglect and disregard to engage the relevant stakeholders through the channel of social dialogue.
He said the Federal Government has refused to engage and reach an agreement with organized labour on critical issues on the consequences of the unfortunate hike in prices of Petroleum which has unleashed massive suffering on Nigerian workers and masses.
The NLC President said the NEC meeting which was “an all-inclusive session, deeply analyzed the prevailing national sentiment, taking into account the extensive hardships and deprivation afflicting our citizens across all states of the federation.”
According to him, “The council scrutinized the Federal Government’s failure to establish essential structures to address the widespread suffering in our nation. Furthermore, it considered the government’s deliberate neglect and disregard for engaging with national stakeholders through the channels of social dialogue, a commitment it had solemnly declared during the President’s inaugural address on May 29, 2023.
“It further examined the renewed threats against trade unions and their leaders by various governors and organisations and was alarmed on the new dimensions and shape these sordid events have taken. “
Continuing, he said that the NEC-in-session observed that whereas: “The Federal Government has refused to engage and reach agreement with organised labour on the critical issues of the consequences of the unfortunate hike in the price of petrol which has unleashed massive suffering on Nigerian workers and masses.
“There is a renewed onslaught against trade unions and its leadership by the state and its agents across Nigeria. The Police under the instruction of certain forces peddling the name of the President of the federation have invaded and occupied illegally the National Headquarters of the NURTW making it difficult for the union to discharge its responsibilities to its membership across the nation.
“The Imo state Government has continued in its efforts at cloning the Congress in the State in order to continue its exploitation workers’ rights and privileges despite all efforts at reaching amicable resolution.
“The Abia State Government has continued to interfere in trade union affairs and seeking to impose its own leadership on state councils of NURTW and NULGE and has continued the inglorious path of workers intimidation and Union bashing in Abia State
“Certain Aviation companies of which Airpeace Airline is the flagship have continued to violate the rights of workers to join unions of their choice in disregard to the provisions of international conventions and laws of Nigeria.
“Marauders disguising as herdsmen have been unleashing terror on farmers and citizens across the nation, members of the Amalgamated Union of Food Stuffs and Cattle Dealers of Nigeria (AUFCDN) are however not involved but respected citizens and businesses.
“Nyesom Wike, the new Minister of the FCT has continued to unfortunately threaten workers and residents of Abuja with the demolition of their houses despite the Government’s inability to make the same available.
“As a result of the aforementioned, the NEC-in-Session resolved as follows:
“To embark on a total and indefinite shutdown of the nation within 14 working days or 21 days from today until steps are taken by the Government to address the excruciating mass suffering and impoverishment being experienced around the country.
“To commence a 2-day nationwide warning strike on Tuesday & Wednesday the 5th & 6th of September, 2023 to demonstrate our readiness for the indefinite strike later in the month and to also demand that the State vacates the illegally occupied National Headquarters of the National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW).
“To embark on a mass protest and rally in Imo State within this month of September, 2023 in preparation for a major shutdown of the state to compel the state government to stop the abuse and violation of the rights and privileges of workers and trade unions in the state.
“To begin the shutdown of the operations of Airpeace Airline and other companies in the Aviation sector that are involved in serial violation of the rights of workers in the sector to freedom of Association and to collectively bargain and Organise.
“To call on communities around the nation to stop taking laws into their hands but report to the authorities for amicable resolution any matter involving members of the Amalgamated Union of Food Stuffs and Cattle Dealers of Nigeria (AUFCDN) which is one of our affiliates.
“To demand that the new Minister of the Federal Capital Territory desist from threatening poor masses in the FCT with demolition of their properties built from their years of toil but should focus more on making houses available to the people. He is not a Minister of Demolition and should be prepared to meet Nigerian workers and citizens on the street if he carries out his insensitive utterances.” The resolution was jointly signed by the NLC President, Ajaero and the General Secretary, Emmanuel Ugbaja.
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