Subsidy removal: NLC declares two-day warning strike

THE Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) has declared a two-day warning strike over the Federal
Government’s failure to alleviate the hardships caused by the removal of petrol subsidy in the country.

The NLC President, Joe Ajaero, disclosed this on Friday, September 1, during a press briefing, stating that the strike would commence on Tuesday, September 5, and precede an indefinite action to begin later in the month.

“We have 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.

“We will 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,” Ajaero said.

He added that there would be a protest in Imo state against the abuse and violations of workers’ rights in the state.

“We are set 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 Organise,” he added.

This comes a month after the NLC, Trade Union Congress (TUC) and other members of Organised Labour staged a nationwide protest against the subsidy removal.

Organised Labour staged the protest on August 2, pulling down one of the gates of the National Assembly complex in Abuja in defiance of security operatives who denied them entry into the premises.

The protesters said negotiations between the Federal Government and Organised Labour yielded no positive results.

They also noted that Nigerian President Bola Tinubu had not shown interest in reviving the nation’s economy, as the problems of non-functional refineries, which they said could resolve the country’s fuel crisis, were yet to be addressed by him.

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The protest was suspended the same day after a meeting with President Bola Tinubu at the Presidential Villa.




     

     

    Ajaero told journalists that the meeting with Tinubu had been fruitful, and conversations were held around the work of the Presidential Committee on Subsidy Removal.

    He also disclosed that the president committed to revitalising the Port Harcourt refinery, improving the minimum wage for workers, and other measures to address the hardship caused by the removal of the petrol subsidy.

    “He (Tinubu) committed to an immediate restructuring of the framework for engagement in line with the input of the labour leaders. He confirmed that the Port Harcourt refinery would commence production by December. He pledged a wage increase for Nigerian workers.

    Although the president approved N5bn per state to be distributed among citizens as palliatives against the subsidy removal, NLC faulted the package, saying it could only amount to N1,500 when shared to about 133 million Nigerians, who are multi-dimensionally poor.

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    Ijeoma Opara is a journalist with The ICIR. Reach her via [email protected] or @ije_le on Twitter.

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