Friday , June 21 2024

Why NLC, TUC are embarking on nationwide strike today

The National Labour Congress (NLC) and Trade Union Congress (TUC) have declared an indefinite strike, starting on Monday, June 3, 2024.

The organized labour decided to embark on industrial action after the negotiations between them and the government over the minimum wage of workers came to an impasse.

Nairametrics had earlier reported that the NLC and the TUC have been in negotiation with the federal government over a new minimum wage since the government policies such as the removal of fuel subsidy announced last year by President Bola Tinubu led to an increase in the cost of goods and services.

The organized labour claimed that a new minimum wage is long overdue, and due to the incessant soaring of the price of goods and services, the government should upwardly review the wages of workers.

Accordingly, NLC and TUC initially proposed a new wage of N615,000 to the federal government. However, after many negotiations and deliberations, the union settled for the sum of N495,000.

On its part, however, the government insisted on paying the sum of N60,000, adding that the proposed amount from the labour union is unsustainable.

Added to this, the organized private sector, which were also part of the tripartite committee set up by the government on minimum wage, said they accepted the sum proposed by the federal government.

Subsequently, NLC declared a nationwide strike on Friday, adding that the strike will begin on Monday (today) and will be indefinite.

Last-minute Meeting with NASS

Following the announcement from NLC and TUC, the National Assembly consisting of both the Senate and the House, met with the leadership of the union in a last-minute meeting to appeal against the proposed strike.

President of the Senate, Godswill Akpabio, told journalists in Abuja that efforts by the National Assembly leadership to convince the labour unions to suspend the strike had failed.

President of the Senate, Godswill Akpabio

Also, the TUC president, Festus Usifo, who briefed journalists on the outcome of the meeting which lasted over four hours, said there was an appeal by the senate president to the unions to suspend the planned strike.

“We have listened to them; we would take all their pleas to our organs, and we would have an organ’s meeting, taking what they have promised and the pleas that they have made to our organs.

“For now, we don’t have the powers to call off the industrial action, so the industrial action will continue while we have a conversation with our respective organs as soon as possible to lay bare what they have put forward and what they have proposed,” Usifo said.

Who will be affected

Fuel distribution, health, bank and other essential services nationwide are expected to shut down from today as organised labour begins an indefinite strike.

Affiliates of NLC, including the Nigeria Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG) National Union of Electricity Employees (NUEE) Maritime Workers Union of Nigeria (MWUN) National Union of Banks, Insurance and Financial Institutions Employees (NUBIFIE) and other critical sector unions had written to their members to ensure total compliance.

In addition, TUC directed PENGASSAN, ASSBIFI, ASCSN and other senior staff associations to fully participate in the nationwide strike.

The organized labour  also ordered the Association of Senior Staff of Banks, Insurance and Financial Institutions, ASSBIFI, Association of Senior Civil Servants of Nigeria, ASCSN, and other senior staff associations to ensure total compliance.

Strike Illegal, Immature — AGF

Meanwhile, Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) and Minister of Justice, Lateef Fagbemi, SAN, urged organised labour to cancel its planned nationwide strike, saying it is both premature and illegal.

Fagbemi advised the aggrieved labour leaders to return to the negotiation table with the federal, state governments and other employers of labour to “avoid foisting avoidable hardships on the generality of Nigerians”.

The AGF, whose position was contained in a letter to the presidents of NLC and TUC, dated June 1, stated:

“My attention has been drawn to statement made on May 31, 2024, by the leadership of the NLC and TUC declaring an indefinite nation-wide strike action from June 3, 2024.

“I wish to note that this latest declaration of strike action by organised labour is premature at a time when the federal government and other stakeholders involved in the Tripartite Committee on determination of a new national minimum wage had not declared an end to negotiation.”

He advised the workers to be mindful of the fact that the federal and state governments were not the only employers to be bound by a new national minimum wage, hence, it was vital to balance the interest and capacity of all employers of labour in the country.





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