LABOUR THREATENS INDEFINITE STRIKE; SETS ONE-WEEK ULTIMATUM

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The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) has issued a stern warning, stating its members will commence an indefinite strike if the Federal Government fails to meet its demands within the next week. This ultimatum comes on the heels of a two-day nationwide warning strike led by the organized labour, prompted by the government’s failure to provide palliatives to alleviate the hardships faced by Nigerians following the removal of the fuel subsidy.

According to Mr. Christopher Onyeka, the National Assistant, General Secretary of the NLC, the government’s allocation of a bag of rice to a dozen citizens, juxtaposed with a reported N100 million palliative for each member of the National Assembly, is an egregious misallocation of resources.

The NLC’s initial ultimatum, issued on September 1, stipulated a 21-day timeframe for the government to address their concerns regarding the distribution of palliatives. Failure to meet these demands may lead to an indefinite nationwide strike, as stated in a letter addressed to the Federal Government.

In a display of the importance of its concerns, the NLC organized a two-day warning strike on September 5 and 6, which partially disrupted social and economic activities across several states. This action was a precursor to a potential total shutdown, slated to begin once the ultimatum expires next week.

Among the key demands of the NLC and the Trade Union Congress are wage adjustments, the implementation of palliatives, tax exemptions, and allowances for public sector workers, along with a review of the minimum wage.

Despite the government’s commitment to restructuring the framework for engagement with organized labour on palliatives, the eight-week deadline for the conclusion of this process expired in August, with no discernible progress.

The NLC insists that the government has withdrawn from negotiations, and warns that the congress may take action without prior notice. The situation has prompted various survival strategies among civil servants; including reduced work hours, engagement in farming, and trading to supplement incomes.

The removal of the fuel subsidy has significantly impacted workers, who are struggling to cope with the increased cost of living. As a result, some have resorted to unconventional means, such as remote work, to navigate these challenging economic conditions.

In Kwara State, workers have adopted a three-day workweek to mitigate costs related to transportation and other expenses. The government, recognising the strain on workers, has temporarily added N10,000 to their salaries while minimum wage adjustments are being reviewed.

Public workers in Sokoto State have independently arranged reduced office attendance to ease the financial burden of transportation. This measure has been largely taken by junior staff members, albeit without official management approval.

In light of these hardships, the NLC emphasises the need for the government to implement measures that will effectively alleviate the burdens faced by workers and the general populace. They contend that reducing working days is not a sustainable solution, and that providing workers with the necessary resources is paramount to a positive outcome.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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