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No going back on nationwide strike — Lagos NLC, TUC

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Rising from an emergency meeting on Sunday, the Lagos chapters of the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) and the Trade Union Congress (TUC) have ordered a total shutdown of schools, government offices, airspace, electricity and water as of midnight on Sunday.

The unions, in a joint press briefing, addressed by their chairmen, Comrade Funmi Session and Comrade Gbenga Ekundayo, in Ikeja, Lagos, said the order signalled the commencement of an indefinite nationwide strike action to press home their demands from the government.

They called all the NLC and TUC’s affiliates across all sectors in the state to ensure compliance.

The unions’ leaders said the strike action would also affect students currently writing the West African School Examination, urging parents to keep their children at home for safety’s sake since there won’t be transportation to convey them to and fro.

The planned nationwide strike, they said was not only about the failure of the Nigerian government to agree on a new national minimum wage and subsequently pass it into law before the end of May 31, 2024, as they were notified, but also the increments in electricity tariff.

They said it was embarrassing that an average worker is earning N30,000 or $20 per month amid escalating food prices and electricity tariffs.

“By 12 midnight today, there shall be a total shutdown of airspace, water supply, hospitals, schools and transportation. Students writing WAEC, their parents should keep them at home. There will be no supply of petrol, we will use tankers to block some strategic places. Government offices remain closed. For electricity, there shall be a total blackout, the two chairpersons said, adding that they would assign people for close monitoring of the strike action,” they said.

They expressed their grave concern and disappointment about the government’s refusal to pay Nigerian workers a living wage.

Rather, they said the government went ahead to increase electricity tariffs unilaterally without due consultation with all stakeholders.

They also bemoaned the government for the further creation of a dichotomy between the rich and poor.

They argued that they have been demanding for the conclusion of the review of the minimum wage exercise since May 1st, 2024, but noticed there was no significant commitment from the government.

“Nigerian workers deserve fair and decent wages, but government continues to neglect its responsibility to the public. Rather, government increased the electricity tariff thereby impoverishing people further.

“We hereby issue a notice of commencement of an indefinite nationwide strike action,” they said.

“The proposed strike is as a result of the failure of the Nigerian state to:

“Agree on a new national minimum wage and subsequently pass it into law before the end of this month as they were notified

“Reverse the hike in electricity tariff without consulting the stakeholders as required by the Law to N225/kwh back to N66/kwh

“Stop the apartheid categorization of Nigerian electricity consumers into Bands.”

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