Plans for the indefinite nationwide strike by workers to protest against hardships emanating from the fuel subsidy removal are in top gear as the Trade Union Congress of Nigeria and Nigeria Labour Congress affiliates have stepped up mobilisation, while calling on members to participate fully in the impending action.
The TUC had in a letter signed by its Secretary General, Nuhu Toro, urged all its affiliates to begin mobilisation of members.
Similarly, it asked them to issue circulars to their members to proceed with the action and report back to the secretariat.
Toro directed: “The State Councils are requested to start preparation and put in place a monitoring team for a successful action,” adding that it remains committed and dedicated to the cause, noting that the impending action “is a litmus test for us that must be confronted with every seriousness”.
He charged members to strive in unison to actualise the action, which he described as “very important”.
The Organized Labour Unions are calling their members to protest against the Federal Government what they described as insensitivity and lukewarm attitude towards hardships being faced by workers following the removal of fuel subsidy by the present administration.
The Federal Government on its part, through the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Lateef Fagbemi (SAN), has appealed to Organized Labour to respect the Industrial Court ruling which had restricted workers from embarking on industrial action.
However, from all indications, the pleas have failed to yield any positive result as various Labour Unions under the TUC and NLC are declaring support for and calling their members to join and participate fully in the imminent action slated for October 3, 2023.
The National Association of Nigerian Nurses and Midwives in a circular to its members recalled that the NLC and TUC have in the past placed many requests before the government as palliatives to reduce the suffering of Nigerian workers but without success.
Similarly, the union related several actions instituted by the NLC leadership, citing three day workers protests, three days warning strike and several ultimatums, but all failed to yield results.
These, the Union in its circular signed by the National President, Nnachi Michael Ekuma; his Deputy, Shehu Abubakar; and General Secretary, T. A. Shettima, informed the NLC leadership’s resolution at its meeting held on September 26 to embark on nationwide strike, effective October 3.
Also, the National Union of Electricity Employees in a circular signed by its Acting General Secretary, Dominic Igwebike, vowed that its members would totally withdraw their services and participate in street protests and rallies, until the government responds “to our demands”.
The Union therefore called on its National, State and Chapters’ executives to start mobilising members in total compliance to its directive, as well as encourage members to work with the leadership of the State Executive Councils of NLC for a successful action.
The Non-Academic Staff Union of Educational and Associated Institutions has also declared support for the action.
In a circular signed by its General Secretary, Prince Peters A. Adeyemi, NASU noted “the nonchalant attitude of FG to Organized Labour Unions’ agitations on calls for provision of relief to free workers from the pains occasioned by fuel subsidy removal”.
Following this, the Union has directed its members across the country to embark on total and comprehensive strike action as directed so as to force the government to react positively to Organized Labour’s demands.
In the same vein, the Nigerian Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers in a press statement pointed out that following the press conference addressed last week Tuesday by Organized Labour on the upcoming action, it said it found it disturbing and unfortunate that the Federal Government and other tiers of government are insensitive to the biting economic and social impacts of fuel subsidy removal on workers.
NUPENG noted that despite the challenges, the Federal Government has not put any measure in place to ameliorate and cushion the effects of the subsidy removal, decrying “lack of regards and respect to cries and yearnings” of the Organized Labour, Civil Society Organisations and general public by the present administration.
The Union alleged it appeared the present administration is “arrogantly taking the goodwill and tolerance level of the workers and Nigerians in general for granted”, maintaining that the “arrogance has been demonstrated clearly and loudly”.
On its own, the Medical and Health Workers Union of Nigeria in a circular signed by its Acting General Secretary, Comrade Anwalu Yusuf Kiyawa, directed its State Councils to immediately commence intensive mobilisation of its members in compliance with the call for indefinite strike, peaceful protest and rallies being declared by the Organized Labour.
The Union indicated that its State Councils have been further directed to work closely with the NLC leadership in their States for a “watertight planning, execution and monitoring of action”.
It also called for videos and pictorial evidence of the actions to be uploaded on the national WhatsApp platform and Facebook page of the Union.
The Senior Staff Association of Universities Teaching Hospital Research Institutes and Associated Institutions has also joined in mobilisation for the industrial action.
In a circular signed by its General Secretary, Comrade E.O. Popoola, to members, the Union called for cooperation and assured that compliance would be in the overall interest of all members to make the strike a huge success.
Members of the Nigerian Union of Allied Health Professionals also in a circular obtained by The Eagle Online quoted the Union’s President, Comrade Kamal Alhassan Ibrahim, as stressing the importance of the TUC National Executive Council meeting, calling workers to join the upcoming strike.
Similarly, the Radio, Television, Theatre and Arts Workers Union of Nigeria has joined in the mobilisation for industrial action.
In a circular signed by its General Secretary, Comrade A. Akpa Usoh, RATTAWU said it had followed up on resolutions reached by the Organized Labour on September 26 with respect to looming nationwide indefinite strike.
To this end, the Union said it had directed its State Councils and Chapters to mobilise their members for “effective implementation” of the strike action.
In addition, it indicated that vice presidents in various zones have been requested to monitor full compliance to the directive.
The Colleges of Education Academic Staff Union in its circular to all Chapter Chairmen said in the light of NLC NEC meeting and resolution, it has directed all its Chapters to comply accordingly.
The Union’s Secretary, Ahmed Bazza Lawan, made this known in the notice to members.
Also, the Academic Staff Union of Secondary Schools National Secretariat has declared its support for the impending strike.
In a letter e-signed by its Secretary-General, Comrade Kenneth C. Okoh, the Union enjoined its National, State and Local Government leaders to begin massive mobilisation for the strike called by the TUC and NLC.
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To ensure effective result, Okoh has directed State Chapters of the Union to liaise with the TUC leadership in their respective States, but not to forget necessary clarification from its National Secretariat “at any point in time”.
Meanwhile, as mobilisation for the strike continues and Nigeria marks her 63 Independence Anniversary, President Bola Tinubu nationwide celebration broadcast is expected to address some agitations of workers Unions, in particular the upward review of salaries.