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Monday, October 2, 2023

Fresh economic shutdown looms as NLC issues 7-day ultimatum to embark on indefinite strike over subsidy removal

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Nigeria might again experience a total economic shutdown as the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) threatened to begin an indefinite strike, should the federal government fail to meet its demand at the end of the 21-day ultimatum.

This comes barely one week after the union had embarked on a two-day nationwide warning strike to protest against economic hardship occasioned by the subsidy removal of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s government.

The workers union said the proposed strike was necessary following the failure of the Federal Government to provide palliatives to assuage the Nigerians’ hardships as a result of the fuel subsidy removal.

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The NLC said the industrial action which may commence any day from next week would lead to an indefinite shutdown of commercial and economic activities across the country.

Speaking with The PUNCH on Tuesday, the National Assistant General Secretary of the NLC, Mr Christopher Onyeka, said the FG was wrong to share a bag of rice to a dozen citizens while reportedly giving N100m palliative to each member of the National Assembly.


“If the government fails to provide the appropriate responses to our demands, we encourage you to maintain your steadfast resolve. The same passion and determination that fuelled this warning strike will be crucial if we find ourselves compelled to embark on an indefinite nationwide strike,’’ the labour body said in a letter to the FG

The NLC had on September 1 handed down a 21-day ultimatum to the government over the delay in sharing of palliatives, saying it might be compelled to declare an indefinite labour action if its demands were not met.

The union said the government had failed to meet its demands, including wage awards, implementation of palliatives, tax exemptions and allowances to the public sector workers and a review of the minimum wage.

The NLC also accused the government of giving inadequate palliatives to Nigerians while reportedly giving N100m palliative to each member of the National Assembly.

The union said the government had absconded from the negotiation table and had not met the workers’ demands.

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Workers have said they have been badly affected by the removal of the fuel subsidy, urging the government to quickly cushion the pains.

Some workers said their organisations have reduced the number of work hours and days, while others have adopted the work-from-home model.

Meanwhile, it is said that Tinubu’s return to Nigeria from his working visit to India and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) might be a major reason for the strike to be averted.

The minister of Labour, Simon Lalong had earlier appealed to the union to wait for the president to return so as to brief him of the union’s demand.

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