The Trade Union Congress and the Nigeria Labour Congress, which make up the organised labour movement, have declared an indefinite Nationwide strike that will begin on October 3, 2023.
TUC President Festus Osifo proclaimed the strike during a joint press conference in Abuja on Tuesday, which was also attended by NLC President Joe Ajaero.
Ajaero, who spoke first, chastised the Federal Government for taking a lax approach to addressing union demands since the subsidy withdrawal policy went into place.
During the 21-day ultimatum and the subsequent successful 2-day nationwide warning strike on the 5th and 6th of September 2023, he accused the administration of a purposeful reluctance to engage in meaningful and constructive discourse within the bounds of good faith.
According to the NLC President, the NLC and TUC National Executive Councils (NEC) at their numerous sessions thoroughly analysed the current situation in the country, taking into account the enormous difficulties and deprivation afflicting individuals across the federation.
He stated that both NECs overwhelmingly criticised the government's apparent deliberate sluggishness and delay in dealing with the impact of its petrol price hike on Nigerians.
Ajaero also stated that the NLC and the TUC NEC-in-session observed that there is no disagreement between Labour and the government on the existence of massive suffering, impoverishment, and hunger in the country as a result of the increase in the price of Petrol, requiring immediate remedial action.
He claimed that the government had completely abdicated its role and demonstrated a blatant refusal to intervene, leaving Nigerians and workers in terrible poverty and affliction.
He went on to accuse the federal administration of constant grandstanding and obstructing all avenues for peaceful conversation with organised labour on measures to save Nigerians from widespread hunger and suffering.
“As a result of the unconscionable hike in the price of Petrol (PMS) by the Government, the Government has continued to demonstrate not just an unwillingness to mitigate the massive hardship in the country but also a complete lack of intention to take positive steps and empathy for the multi-dimensionally impoverished citizens of Nigeria.
“The Federal Government has therefore not met in any substantial way, the demands of Nigerian workers and peoples as previously canvassed in our mutually agreed roadmap to salvaging the economy and protecting workers and Nigerians from the monumental hardship
“The grace period given by the two labour centres has expired but trade unions continue to face severe threat from the State via the brutal and suppressive power of the Police and Government.
“The National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW) continues to be illegally occupied by the Government via the instrumentality of the police who have cloned the leadership of NURTW.
“The Road Transport Employers Association of Nigeria (RTEAN) continues to be illegally occupied by the Lagos State government in total disregard to the Courts and the statutes.
“That the State has continued to blackmail and sponsor serious campaigns of calumny against trade union leaders in the social media using its buying and coercive powers instead of making efforts to lift the burden on the masses,” the NLC President stated.
When Osifo took the microphone, he stated that the NLC and TUC NEC-in-Session had determined to "take our destinies in our own hands and rescue our nation in the spirit of the Independence Day celebration and to demonstrate our resolve for a truly independent Nigeria.
“To embark on an indefinite and total shutdown of the nation beginning on zero hours Tuesday, the 3rd day of October 2023. To direct all workers in Nigeria to withdraw their services from their respective workplaces commencing from the 3rd of October.
“To direct all affiliates and state councils to immediately start mobilizing accordingly for action to organize street protests and rallies until the Government responds positively to our demands
“We enjoin all patriotic Nigerians to join hands across the nation to assist this government in putting the people back at the centre of its policies and programmes.”