Subsidy Removal: Labour Unions Embark On Nationwide Indefinite Strike Starting Tuesday

By Miriam Humbe
In what appeared to be an Independence gift to the federal government (FG), and States, Nigerian workers have planned to proceed on an indefinite strike to protest the fuel subsidy removal by the President Bola Tinubu administration.

Humsimedia sighted no fewer than nine letters from Union leaders directing their members across the nation to commence the strike action on Tuesday, October 3, 2023.

In their letters, all the unions decried the high insensitivity of the government and lethargic approach in responding to the legitimate demands of the organized Labour.

President Bola Tinubu’s administration had announced the subsidy removal on May 27, 2023 amid astronomical hikes in the price of all petroleum products, leading to an equally skyhigh inflation and unbearable standards of living.

Directives from the Trade Unions sighted included the Radio, Television, Theater and Arts Workers Union of Nigeria, (RATTAWU), Nigeria Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers, (NUPENG), Trade Congress of Nigeria, (TUC), Colleges of Education Academic Staff Union, (COEASU) and National Association of Nigeria Nurses and Midwives.

Others were the National Union of Electricity Employees, (NUEE), Medical and Health Workers Union of Nigeria, Senior Staff Association of Universities, Teaching Hospitals, Research Institutes and Associated Institutions and the Non-Academic Staff Union of Educational And Associated Institutions.

All the unions demanded total compliance to their “just cause” by the members.

Meanwhile, it was reported that the meeting between the federal government and leaders of the Nigeria Labour Congress, (NLC), scheduled for Friday to prevent the impending strike failed to hold, as the NLC shunned the government.

Both President Bola Tinubu’s Chief of Staff, Femi Gbajabiamila and Minister of Labour and Employment, Simon Lalong were at the Presidential Villa to meet with the leaders of the NLC who did not show up.

The NLC had earlier embarked on a two-day warning strike earlier in September after which the federal government was given a 21-day ultimatum to meet their demands.
NLC President, Joe Ajaero, while speaking on ARISE News early in the week said that given more than enough time to resolve the dispute and address the concerns of the Labour movement, the federal government chose not to do so.

Meanwhile, members of the Organised Private Sector of Nigeria (OPSN) expressed worry over the looming strike.

The OPSN have warned that any prolonged industrial action was de-marketing Nigeria, worsening the ailing economy, and diminishing the livelihood of citizens.

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