The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) has announced its plans to commence a two-day warning strike on September 5, 2023, as a prelude to a potential total shutdown scheduled to begin in 21 days. This significant decision was reached during the NLC’s National Executive Council meeting, which convened in the early hours of Friday.
In a communique jointly signed by the NLC’s National President, Joe Ajaero, and Secretary, Emmanuel Ugboaja, the Labour center expressed its dissatisfaction with the Tinubu government’s failure to engage in meaningful dialogue and involve stakeholders from the organized labor sector.
This lack of engagement pertained specifically to efforts aimed at mitigating the adverse impact of the removal of subsidies on Premium Motor Spirit (PMS), commonly known as petrol, especially on the vulnerable segments of society.
Comrade Joe Ajaero, the President of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), speaking to reporters at the conclusion of the National Executive Council (NEC) meeting held in Abuja on Friday, emphasized that the NLC is poised to halt the operations of Peace Airline and other airlines that resist workers’ unionization. Additionally, the NLC intends to disrupt activities in Imo State in protest against the infringement of workers’ rights.
“NEC-In-Session consequently resolved 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.”
Previously, in August, the organized labor conducted a one-day protest that effectively paralyzed operations in key urban areas throughout the nation.
Enumerating additional justifications for its upcoming nationwide mobilization, the Labour center leveled accusations at the Nigeria Police for besieging the national headquarters of the National Union of Road Transport Workers. They also decried alleged violations of workers’ rights in Imo State, interference in trade union affairs by the Abia State Government, and the proposed demolition plans by the new Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, Nyesom Wike, among other grievances.
“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 organize;
“To call on communities around the nation to stop taking the law into their own 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 which is one of our affiliates;
“To demand that the new Minister of the Federal Capital Territory desists 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 Nigeria Labour Congress had urged the government to open a dialogue and address the subsidy removal issue promptly to avert a potentially disruptive Labour action.