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Labour issue 14-day nationwide strike notice over economic hardship

Nigerian workers protest economic hardship

By Tochukwu Bliss, Abuja

Labour movement under the auspices of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and the Trade Union Congress (TUC), yesterday, issued a 14-day strike notice to the Federal Government from today (Friday).

In a statement, the unions expressed their displeasure over the government’s failure to implement a 16-point agreement signed in October 2023, to address worsening economic hardship, caused by the hike in petrol prices and naira devaluation.

The statement reads in part: “Leaders of the NLC and TUC are sad that, despite organised labour’s efforts to ensure industrial peace, the government seems unperturbed by the mass suffering and hardship across the country.

“The October 2 agreement was focused on addressing the massive suffering and the general harsh socioeconomic consequences of the ill-conceived and ill-executed IMF/World Bank-induced hike in the price of PMS and the devaluation of the naira. These dual policies have had, as we predicted, dire economic consequences for the masses and workers of Nigeria.”

In their opinion, the labour movement believe the government has not been able to adopt appropriate measure to ameliorate the hardship.

The level of panic and anxiety amongst the populace has become nightmarish; unfortunately, in the midst of all these, it appears our government is bereft of appropriate measures to ameliorate the huge burden it has foisted on the citizenry.

The statement continues: “Widespread hunger is now ravishing millions of Nigerians, with the workers purchasing power significantly eroded, while insecurity has assumed an increasing dimension.

“Nigerians are left wondering where their next meals will come from and what tomorrow might bring. The level of panic and anxiety amongst the populace has become nightmarish; unfortunately, in the midst of all these, it appears our government is bereft of appropriate measures to ameliorate the huge burden it has foisted on the citizenry.

“We wish to state that these agreements, which encompass a wide range of issues crucial to the wellbeing of Nigerian masses and workers, have not been honoured as pledged by the Federal Government.

“From wage awards, palliative adjustments to improved access to public utilities; to the meddlesomeness in the internal affairs of the National Union of Road Transport Workers and the interference by the Lagos State Government in union activities, the case of illegal and unlawful proscription of Road Transport Employers Association of Nigeria.

“The government’s failure to uphold its end of the bargain is deeply regrettable and unacceptable to the working people and the citizenry.”

“It is regrettable that we are compelled to resort to such measures, but the persistent neglect of the welfare of citizens and Nigerian workers and the massive hardship leave us with no choice.

“Constrained by this development and recognising the urgency of the situation and the imperative of ensuring the protection and defence of the rights and dignity of Nigerian workers and citizens, the NLC and TUC hereby issue a stern ultimatum to the Federal Government to honour their part of the understanding within 14 days from tomorrow, the 9th day of February 2024.”

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