By Uche Amunike
After the National Executive Council meeting, held, Friday, by members of the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC), a decision was reached about an NLC strike action, which will take place on September 5th, 2023, as a warning, in preparation for the total shutdown that will begin in 21 days, if their demands are not met.
According to a communique released by the Labour Center and jointly signed by its National President, Joe Ajaero and Secretary, Emmanuel Ugboaja, the NLC strike was a decision by the union, to protest the failure of the Tinubu-led government to dialogue and engage with stakeholders within the organized labor, on how to cushion the effects of the removal of subsidy on Premium Motor Spirit, popularly known as Petrol, on Nigerian poor masses.
Recall that in August, organized labor staged a one day protest which grounded activities in major cities across Nigeria.
The center listed some of the reasons why they would mobilize their members for the nationwide shutdown, amongst which are, that the Nigerian police laid siege at the national headquarters of the National Union of Road Transport Workers, allegedly exploiting the rights of workers in Imo states; Interference in trade union matters by the Abia State government; Proposed demolition by the new Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, Nyesom Wike, among other factors.
After the National Executive Council of the union, they resolved, among other things, to embark on a total and indefinite shutdown of the country within 14 working days or 21 days from today, until the government takes steps to address the excruciating mass suffering and impoverishment being felt around the country.
They also resolved to start a 2-day nationwide warning strike on Tuesday and Wednesday the 5th and 6th of September 2023 to demonstrate their readiness for the indefinite strike which will come up later in the month and also demanded that the state vacates the illegally occupied national headquarters of the National Union of Road Transport Workers.
They threatened to go on a mass protest and rally in Imo State within this month of September 2023, in order to prepare for a major shutdown of the state to compel the state government to desist from abusing and violating the rights and privileges of workers and trade unions in the state.
They also threatened to commence shutting down operations of Airpeace Airline and other companies in the aviation sector that are involved in seriously violating the rights of workers in the sector, to freedom of association and to collectively bargain and organize.
The communique also stated that the NLC strike would go on if the government does not call on communities around the nation to stop taking the law into their own hands, but rather report to the authorities for amicable resolution of any matter involving members of the Amalgamated Union of Foodstuff and Cattle Dealers of Nigeria, which is one of the affiliates of the NLC.
They have also made demands that the new Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, Nyesom Wike, stops threatening poor masses in the Federal Capital Territory with plans of demolishing their properties built from their years of toil. They rather said that he should focus more on making houses available to the people, stating that he is not a Minister of demolition and should be prepared to meet Nigerian workers and citizens on the streets, on an organized NLC strike, if he carries out his insensitive utterances.