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Nigeria Labour Congress Calls for 2-Day Strike Amidst Economic Woes

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ABUJA, Nigeria — The Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC, has announced a two-day warning strike on September 5, 2023, intensifying tensions between organized labor and the government.

The move protests against the Federal Government’s failure to address challenges arising from removing fuel subsidies, among other issues.

Joe Ajaero, NLC President, revealed the strike plans during a press conference on Friday, September 1, 2023, accusing the government of “abandoning negotiations and failing to implement resolutions from previous meetings.”

The declaration follows a nationwide protest led by the NLC and the Trade Union Congress, TUC, on August 2, 2023, against the “anti-people policies” of President Bola Tinubu’s administration.

The protest spanned multiple states, including Lagos, Abia, Plateau, and Rivers, and came after a seven-day ultimatum demanding a reversal of various government policies.

The labor unions’ grievances extend beyond fuel subsidies to include increases in public school fees, withheld salaries of university lecturers, and a demand for a significant hike in the minimum wage from N30,000 to N200,000.

“Since the President’s ‘subsidy is gone’ speech in May, the peace of mind of Nigerians has also gone,” said Ajaero.

Negotiations between the Presidency and the unions for palliative measures have repeatedly stalled, with no concrete resolutions in sight.

Last month, Ajaero dismissed the N5 billion allocated for each state and the Federal Capital Territory, FCT, to cushion the impact of the fuel subsidy removal as grossly insufficient.

“Let’s do the math: N5 billion doesn’t even amount to N1,500 per person,” Ajaero said on Monday, August 18, 2023. “Is that really the impact we’re looking for? If it’s a loan, it’s even worse.”

The impending strike adds another layer of complexity to Nigeria’s already precarious economic situation, as the Naira continues to plummet in value despite various government interventions.

Furthermore, the labor unrest seriously threatens President Tinubu’s already embattled administration, which is grappling with escalating insecurity, rampant corruption, and a population increasingly discontent with the nation’s state.

As September 5 approaches, all eyes are on the Federal Government to see if it will make a last-ditch effort to stave off the strike by addressing the labor unions’ demands, or face the consequences of a potentially disruptive national work stoppage.

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