ABUJA, (iexclusivenews) – The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and the Trade Union Congress (TUC), the two major labour unions in Nigeria, have declared a total nationwide strike effective Tuesday, November 14, 2023.
The strike action is in protest of the brutalisation of the NLC National President, Joe Ajaero, by the police in Imo State.
And the failure of the Federal Government to address the issues raised by the organised labour in the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed on October 2, 2023.
The Brutalisation of Joe Ajaero
The NLC National President, Joe Ajaero, was arrested and assaulted by the police in Owerri, the capital of Imo State, on Wednesday, November 8, 2023.
He was in the state to lead a peaceful protest against the non-payment of salaries and pensions by the state government.
The police allegedly fired tear gas and live bullets at the protesters, injuring several of them.
Ajaero was also reportedly beaten and dragged on the ground by the police before being taken to an unknown destination.
The NLC and the TUC condemned the brutalisation of Ajaero and demanded his immediate and unconditional release.
They also called for the prosecution of the police officers involved in the attack and the payment of compensation to the victims.
The labour unions issued a five-day ultimatum to the Federal Government and the Imo State Government to meet their demands or face a nationwide strike.
The Memorandum of Understanding
The MoU was signed between the Federal Government and the organised labour on October 2, 2023, following the removal of the subsidy on Premium Motor Spirit (PMS), also known as petrol.
The removal of the subsidy led to an increase in the pump price of petrol from N162 per litre to N200 per litre, causing untold hardship to Nigerians.
The MoU contained several agreements aimed at cushioning the effects of the fuel price hike and improving the welfare of workers and citizens. Some of the agreements include:
– The establishment of a committee to review the minimum wage and the implementation of the new minimum wage by January 2024.
– The provision of palliatives such as mass transit buses, food items, and cash transfers to the poor and vulnerable.
– The reduction of electricity tariffs and the provision of prepaid meters to all consumers.
– The rehabilitation of the refineries and the promotion of local production of petrol.
However, the labour unions accused the Federal Government of reneging on the MoU and failing to implement the agreements.
They also alleged that the government was planning to increase the pump price of petrol again to N250 per litre.
The Extraordinary NEC Meeting
The leadership of the NLC and the TUC summoned an extraordinary National Executive Council (NEC) meeting in Abuja.
The aim of the meeting was to review the modalities of the planned strike and mobilise their members for the action.
The meeting was attended by representatives of various affiliate unions, civil society organisations, and professional associations.
After deliberating on the issues, the NEC resolved to embark on a total nationwide strike effective Tuesday, November 14, 2023.
The strike is expected to paralyse all sectors of the economy, including banking, aviation, education, health, and transportation.
The labour unions also vowed to stage mass protests across the country to demand justice for Ajaero and the implementation of the MoU.
The NLC and the TUC called on all Nigerians to join the strike and the protests, saying that the action was in the best interest of the nation.
They also urged the Federal Government and the Imo State Government to accede to their demands and avert the looming industrial crisis.
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