June 25, 2024

Central News

at the center of it

Labour adamant: Indefinite nationwide lockdown starts October 3

POLITICS, the economy, factories, offices, hospitals, motor-parks, … just about every facet of life in Nigeria is about to be in excruciating turmoil, beginning next Tuesday, October 3, 2023.
From that date Organised Labour, comprising the Trade Union Congress (TUC) and the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), have declared an indefinite strike: the total grounding of the system.
TUC president Festus Osifo declared the strike at a joint press conference also attended by president of the NLC Joe Ajaero, in Abuja on Tuesday.
Ajaero spoke first, saying the Federal Government had taken “a lackadaisical stance” in addressing demands raised by the unions since the subsidy removal policy took effect.
He accuses the government of deliberate refusal to engage in a meaningful, constructive dialogue within the ambits of good faith during the 21-day ultimatum and the subsequent successful 2-day nationwide warning strike on Sept. 5 and 6, 2023.
According to the NLC president, national executive councils (NEC) of both the NLC and TUC, in their various meetings, deeply analyzed the current situation in the country, taking into cognisance the extensive hardships and deprivation afflicting the citizens across the entire federation.
Massive suffering
He said both NECs unanimously condemned the government’s apparent conscious lethargy and tardiness in handling the consequences of its petrol price hike on Nigerians.
Ajaero says the NLC and TUC NECs-in-session observed that there is no disagreement between Labour and Government on the prevalence of massive suffering, impoverishment and hunger in the country as a result of the hike in the prices of petroleum products, which he says demands urgent emedial action.
He laments that government totally abdicated its responsibility and has shown gross unwillingness to act, thereby abandoning the Nigerian people and workers to excruciating poverty and affliction.
“As a result of the unconscionable hike in the price of Petrol (PMS) by the Government, the Government has continued to demonstrate not just an unwillingness to mitigate the massive hardship in the country but also a complete lack of intention to take positive steps and empathy for the multi-dimensionally impoverished citizens of Nigeria.
“The government has therefore not met in any substantial way, the demands of Nigerian workers and peoples as previously canvassed in our mutually-agreed roadmap to salvaging the economy and protecting workers and Nigerians (generally) from the monumental hardship.
Government, ‘a blackmailer’
“The grace period given by the two Labour centres has expired but trade unions continue to face severe threat from the State via the brutal and suppressive power of the Police and Government.
“The National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW) continues to be illegally ‘occupied’ by the Government via the instrumentality of the police who have cloned the leadership of NURTW.
“The Road Transport Employers Association of Nigeria (RTEAN) continues to be illegally harassed by the Lagos State government in total disregard of the Courts and the statutes.
“The state has continued to blackmail and sponsor campaigns of calumny against trade union leaders in the social media using its bulying and coercive powers instead of making efforts to lift the burden on the masses,” the NLC president laments.
Labour’s resolutions
For his part, Osifo confirms that, the NLC and TUC NECs-in-session resolved “to, in the spirit of the Independence Day celebration and to demonstrate our resolve for a truly independent Nigeria to take our destinies in our own hands and rescue our nation,
“To embark on an indefinite and total shutdown of the nation beginning on zero hours Tuesday, October 3, 2023: all workers in Nigeria are to withdraw their services from their respective workplaces commencing from the 3rd of October.
“To direct all affiliates and state councils to immediately start mobilizing accordingly for action to organize street protests and rallies until Government responds positively to our demands.
“We enjoin all patriotic Nigerians to join hands across the nation to assist this government put the people back at the centre of its policies and programmes.”