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Labour Insists on Indefinite Strike, Faults FG Meeting

The National Deputy President of the Trade Union Congress, Tommy Etim, has unequivocally declared that nothing will deter the impending strike, emphasizing the disenchantment of Nigerian workers with the Federal Government. He stated that the unions had granted the government ample time to address their demands, underscoring that the workers were no longer willing to be deceived.

Etim conveyed his resolute stance to Findwhosabi on Wednesday, asserting that any further meetings with the government would be futile, and he urged Nigerians to brace themselves for an extended strike.

“The government had been given more than enough time to meet our demands but they did nothing. The strike has been scheduled, and nothing will halt it. If they (FG) choose to go to court as they usually do, so be it. The only way to avert the strike is to meet all our demands,” he firmly stated.

When questioned about the expected consequences of the industrial action, Etim added, “It won’t merely entail a complete shutdown of the nation; it will be the most significant strike yet. Did you know they are planning to lay off 17,000 workers during this period when Nigerians are already enduring severe hardships?”

Furthermore, a senior official of the NLC, speaking on the impending strike, conveyed, “The issues are crystal clear. NLC’s joint communiqué was unambiguous. NLC has proclaimed an indefinite nationwide strike commencing on October 3, 2023, and nothing will deter us from initiating it unless the government complies with our demands.”

When asked if the unions would reconsider their plans if invited to a meeting by the FG, the union leader responded, “No meeting or promise can dissuade us; the only thing that can halt the strike is the fulfillment of all our demands, nothing else.”

Fuel scarcity and a nationwide blackout are imminent as the Nigeria Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG) and the National Union of Electricity Employees (NUEE) have pledged to join the indefinite strike called by the NLC and TUC.

Healthcare workers, under the Joint Health Sector Unions (JOHESU) and the National Association of Nigeria Nurses and Midwives, have also announced their participation in the planned nationwide strike. Health services in government-owned facilities will be severely impacted.

The Judiciary Staff Union of Nigeria, as a member of the NLC, has confirmed its involvement in the strike action.

In response to these developments, the Ministry of Labour and Employment issued a statement refuting reports that President Bola Tinubu would announce wage awards and palliatives for workers on Independence Day. The ministry clarified that the Director of Information at the ministry did not speak for the President.

In solidarity with the impending strike, the Labour Party expressed its support for Nigerian workers, criticizing the government’s perceived indifference to their plight. The NLC and TUC are demanding wage awards, palliatives, tax exemptions, allowances for public sector workers, and a minimum wage review.

The situation remains tense as both labor unions and the government stand their ground, leaving the nation on the brink of a potentially disruptive strike.

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