Labour begins indefinite strike on Wednesday in Niger

CIVIL servants in Niger State will on Wednesday,  February 21, embark on an indefinite strike over the government’s failure to meet their demands.

This was disclosed in a letter dated February 19 and signed by the Nigeria Labour Congress chairman, Idrees Lafene, and the chairman of the Trade Union Congress, Ibrahim Gana.

The letter addressed to Governor Mohammed Bago was made available to newsmen on Tuesday, February 20.

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The union noted that it had presented some demands and gave an ultimatum in December 2023 to the state government but the demands were yet to be met.

The letter reads in part, “We are writing in furtherance to our earlier letter of ultimatum Ref no. OL/NS/040/GEN/Vol 4/29 dated 20/12/23 and the deadlock on settlement of issues as a result of negotiations with the Niger State government committee.

“We wish to formally inform the government that effective 8am on Wednesday, February 21, 2024, that Niger State workers shall commence an indefinite strike action until our demands are comprehensively met.

“Meanwhile, we wish to reiterate that our doors are open for negotiation subject to the conveyance of formal invitation,  reversal of all appointments in dispute, i.e., executive directors Finance, executive directors Admin and executive directors Operations, chairman, members and permanent commissioners of Local Government Service Commission and Civil Service Commission, directors-generals of some agencies, and a clear statement by the government on  payment of wage award.”

The labour union also noted that it would not longer tolerate the idea of appointing permanent secretaries who are not eligible.

It further called on the government to retract the recent appointment of a vice principal on secondment as a permanent secretary.

“We also call on the government to desist from victimising teachers and members from the educational sector as a result of the recent debate by some primary school pupils in Agaie LGA,” the letter added.

The workers’ fresh warning came a few days after the national body of the NLC said it would embark on a two-day nationwide mass protest on February 27 and 28 over the worsening hardship in the country.

The development was also on the heels of the declaration by the Association of Master Bakers and Caterers of Nigeria (AMBCN), stating that it would commence a nationwide strike from February 27 should the Federal government refuse to implement the agreement it entered into with the association in 2020.

The NLC president, Joe Ajaero, on Friday, February 16, announced the protest at the Labour House headquarters during an emergency press conference on Friday, February 16.



    Ajaero said the decision to protest was made after the expiration of the 14-day ultimatum issued to the Federal Government over hardship across the country.

    The ICIR reports that in addition to tackling hardship, the union gave the 14-day ultimatum to pressure the government to honour the 16-point agreement reached with the union on October 2, 2023.

    The ICIR reports that there has been an astronomical increase in the prices of goods since President Bola Tinubu announced the removal of the fuel subsidy on May 29, 2023, the day he took over power.

    Tinubu’s declaration immediately led to fuel queues as many retailers shut their filling stations, hoarding their stock and creating scarcity with a view to hiking fares later.

    Usman Mustapha is a solution journalist with International Centre for Investigative Reporting. You can easily reach him via: [email protected]. He tweets @UsmanMustapha_M

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