Organised labour said on Wednesday it had started mobilisation for a nationwide strike that would affect banking and aviation as well as electricity and petroleum products supply.
The National Executive Council (NEC) of United Labour Congress (ULC) rose from a meeting in Lagos on August 22, 2017, with sundry demands on the Federal Government it said should be met in 14 days or it would call workers out for a national strike.
Following the polarisation of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) in 2015, the newly formed ULC has control of workers in critical sectors of the nation’s economy, including oil and gas, aviation, banking and power.
Among the demands of the ULC on the federal and state governments are the immediate repairs of collapsed roads leading to refineries and all oil depots in the country, payment of arrears of salaries and allowances owed workers, implementation of the 2009 agreement with the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), withdrawal of soldiers from workplaces, release of the certification of registration of ULC, stoppage of the proposed ‘hate speech bill,’ inauguration of wage review committee, among others.
“If these demands are not met within two weeks (starting from August 22), the ULC shall embark on industrial actions to assist government respect the interests of workers and the citizenry,” Joe Ajaero, president of the congress, had declared. He was backed by others including Igwe Achese, president of Nigerian Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG). They warned that banking, aviation services would be withdrawn while fuel and power supplied would be halted.
Didi Adodo, a former commissioner in Edo State and secretary general of the ULC, in a follow-up statement Wednesday, said, “As the ultimatum given by the union to the Federal Government is expiring with the government not showing any signs of meeting the stated demands, we want to inform Nigerians that the strike committee has commenced work in earnest.”
Adodo added that the strike committee was made up of 15 members drawn from some industrial unions affiliated of the ULC, saying the impending industrial action would be effective and compel the Federal Government and state governors to listen to the cries of Nigerian workers and masses.
“We believe that it is our duties to assist this government make governance more effective so that as a people and as a nation, we shall begin to break one by one the shackles of suffering, which underdevelopment has foisted on us,” Adodo said.