Labour threatens indefinite strike from Friday


Ozioma Ubabukoh

The United Labour Congress on Wednesday threatened that workers in the country would embark on an indefinite strike if the Federal Government failed to meet its demands by Friday (tomorrow).

The threat came barely two weeks after the Federal Ministry of Labour and Employment responded to the workers through a letter, which the ULC said “largely failed to adequately address the critical issues raised in our demands.”

The union issued the strike threat after an emergency meeting of its National Administrative Committee, which was held jointly with the National Strike Committee in Lagos.

In a statement signed by the President, ULC, Joe Ajaero, the union urged Nigerians to take precaution and stock up necessities, saying, “The strike will be very effective as we hope to cripple all modes of transportation within the nation; ensure a total blackout nationwide; cut off petroleum product supplies; and disrupt banking operations, which will make life a bit more difficult for Nigerians.

“We regret these consequences on all of us, but we hope that these measures will help us create a nation that is better governed for the benefits of Nigerian workers and Nigerian masses.”

Ajaero said that the strike had become necessary having earlier issued a 14-day ultimatum to the Federal Government as a result of the decision of the Central Working Committee meeting of the congress on August 22, which expired on September 8, 2017.

He said that in view of the government’s rejection of the demands within the 14-day ultimatum, the ULC ordered an immediate issuance of a seven-day final strike notice, which would expire on Friday.

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He added, “This course of action, though very painful to us at this time, is the only alternative available to us as we have exhausted all known peaceful processes towards an amicable resolution of the dispute.

“We, therefore, call on all genuine patriots to join hands in solidarity with us to urge the Federal Government and state governors to be kind enough to meet the demands of Nigerian workers and masses.”

The demands of the union include the immediate payment of all arrears of salaries owed workers at all levels of government without exception.

Ajaero added that other demands were that “the Federal Government honours its 2009 agreement with university lecturers under the umbrella of ASUU quickly and commences negotiations with them on new issues so that our universities will re-open.

“The roads leading to all the petroleum refineries and depots nationwide be repaired by the government to avoid the present carnage, wastage of products and properties on these roads.

“That the government should demand that the Federal Ministry of Labour and Employment set up a task force immediately to carry out factory inspections as most of our factories are death traps.”

The workers are also demanding an immediate review of the privatisation of the Power Holding Company of Nigeria, among others.

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