CITIZENS COMPASS —Affiliates of the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) and Trade Union Congress of Nigeria (TUC) in Lagos State, on Tuesday complied with the directive of the two labour unions to embark on an indefinite nationwide strike over the brutalisation of NLC president, Joe Ajaero.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos reports that the National Executive Council meeting of the labour unions, held on Nov. 13, 2023, in Abuja, had resolved to embark on the strike.
The decision was due to the alleged failure of the Federal Government to address issues affecting workers, such as the minimum wage, insecurity, corruption, and poor governancea.
Also, both unions had made some demands, which the government had allegedly failed to address following the recent crisis in Imo that resulted in the alleged brutalisation of the NLC President, Mr Joe Ajaero, and other members of the labour unions.
Meanwhile, the government on Nov. 13, warned both unions against embarking on their planned strike action, saying it would amount to contempt of court.
The Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr Lateef Fagbemi, in a statement, said the government had obtained a restraining order from the National Industrial Court of Nigeria barring the unions from going ahead with the strike.
Meanwhile, the Secretary General, Nigeria Union of Railway Workers, Mr Segun Esan, told NAN that the union was involved in the strike and no train was running as a result.
In effect, therefore, all the workers of Nigerian Railway are duty-bound to join the nationwide strike action from zero-zero hour of Tuesday, 14th November, 2023 by staying back at home and away from their offices.
All the offices, stations, workshops, and entire premises of the Corporation remain locked and inaccessible from zero-zero hour of Tuesday, 14th November, 2023, till otherwise directed by the Congress,” Esan said in announcing compliance with the NLC, TUC strike over the brutalisation of Ajaero
Also, the President, Association of Senior Staff of Banks, Insurance and Financial Institutions, Mr Oluwole Olusoji, said advice had been sent out to members on compliance.
He said that members had been advised to ensure the safeguard of lives and property from people who might be used to take undue advantage of the situation.
“We will continue to monitor the situation as it unfolds, “ Olusoji said.
….Shut down National Assembly
Similarly, the workers shut down the National Assembly complex in compliance with the nationwide industrial action.
Some Nigerian lawmakers were shut out of their various offices.
In protest of the attack on its President, Comrade Joe Ajaero, in Imo State, human and vehicular movements were prevented from entering the Complex.
Members of the two Chambers and the Staff of the National Assembly, journalists and others were locked out as the entrances into the Complex were locked.
However, after hot arguments, the officials of Organised Labour opened one of the gates for reporters, during which few others struggled into the Complex.
Both Chambers of the National Assembly are yet to be opened, creating the fears that plenary may not hold for a while.
An official of the Parliamentary Association of Nigeria, PASSAN, NASS Branch, told newsmen that the directive of the NLC on the ongoing strike action was being effected at NASS.
Recall that the NLC and Trade Union Congress of Nigeria (TUC) had directed its members to commence a nationwide strike over the assault on Ajaero, starting from midnight, Tuesday, November 14.
The Organised Labour said all affiliate unions of the two labour centres had been directed to implement the resolutions of the joint National Executive Council of TUC and NLC.
President of TUC, Festus Osifo, who addressed reporters on Monday in Abuja, said the strike would remain until “governments at all levels wake up to their responsibility.”
FG berates strike
Meanwhile, the Federal Government on Tuesday berated the organised Labour over the ongoing nationwide strike declared by union leaders following the assault on the Nigeria Labour Congress President, Joe Ajaero.
Kamarudeen Ogundele, the Special Assistant to the Minister of the Justice and the Attorney-General of the Federation, in an interview on Arise Television on Tuesday, said the strike was not in the interest of the country.
Faulting the Labour leaders, Ogundele said, “Declaring a strike at this time will not be in the interest of the country. The country is trying to regain economic control and to also recover in several sectors. Instead of looking for at how we progress as a nation, there is no need for us to try to be involved in actions that will constitute a clog in the process of the country.”
When asked if the FG had not talked to the labour unions before it got to this stage of protest, Ogundele said who spoke on what he described as the genesis of the strike, said, “They (the labour unions) claimed that the NLC president was attacked in Imo State and I understand that there was an order of the court banning them from assembling or protesting in Imo. But they went against the order of the court by assembling. The government of the day is not out to promote violence but the labour unions have not come out to say the president of the country had a hand in what happened on that day. Why are they now trying to escalate what happened in the state to the whole federation?”