The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and the Trade Union Congress of Nigeria (TUC) have instructed workers across the country to initiate an indefinite strike starting today. This decision by the labour unions follows an injunction from the National Industrial Court (NIC) in Abuja, which had prohibited NLC, TUC, and their affiliates from engaging in any industrial action.
The primary reason for the strike is to protest the assault on NLC President Joe Ajaero and others in Owerri, Imo State, on November 1, as well as various unresolved labour issues in the state. On November 7, the unions resolved to declare a nationwide strike by November 14 if their demands were not addressed.
The grievances of organised labour include the physical assault on the NLC President, outstanding salary arrears, the wrongful classification of 11,000 workers as ghost employees, unpaid gratuities, non-compliance with the N30,000 minimum wage act, and the classification of 10,000 pensioners as ghost retirees.
Despite an earlier attack on Ajaero and other leaders, the decision to proceed with the strike was made after an extraordinary National Executive Council (NEC) meeting in Abuja. Speaking on behalf of both labour centres, TUC President Festus Osifo stated that the strike would persist until “government at all levels wake up to their responsibilities.”
Osifo emphasised demands for the removal and prosecution of the Area Commander who led the police in the assault and the arrest and prosecution of Governor Hope Uzodinma’s Special Adviser on Special Duties, Chinasa Nwaneri, who was alleged to have led the assailants.
The labour leaders had initially given an ultimatum that expired the previous week, and despite extending it by an additional week, they found the government’s response lacking. Consequently, the nationwide strike is set to commence today and will continue indefinitely until the government addresses the concerns raised by the labour unions.