WORKERS in several states have joined the strike by the Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC and the Trade Union Congress of Nigeria, TUC which kicked off today, shutting down activities at several government-owned facilities.
The Edo State chapter of the NLC downed tools at government offices in compliance with the nationwide industrial action declared by the national body.
At the Civil Service Secretariat in Benin City, the Edo State capital, union leaders, including the state NLC chairman, Mr Odion Olaye, locked out civil servants who had come to work.
The same scenario played out at the State High Court and the Edo State House of Assembly, where the gates were under lock and key.
Some banks in the capital city closed their doors to customers, who were left to do their transactions at the ATM terminals.
In Abeokuta, the Ogun State capital, the NLC, TUC, and other affiliate bodies also joined the ongoing indefinite national industrial action as instructed by their national leadership.
Staff members of the Ibadan Electricity Distribution Company were stranded at the gate, while the gate was under lock and key.
Commenting on the development of the indefinite industrial action, the state Chairman of the NLC, Hamed Ademola, BENKO, expressed satisfaction over the level of compliance.
However, News Express Reporter Elijah Daniel who went round parts of the border towns of Akute, Ajuwon and Alagbole reports that there was no sign of strike.
“Access Bank Akute is open for customers and you can see customers going in to transact their businesses, though the ATMs are not dispensing cash.
“Similarly, First Bank, FCMB and UBA are all open,” he reports.
A similar scenario obtains across the border in Lagos State. For example, in Ikeja, the state capital, the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital (LASUTH) is fully opened. “All categories of staff are in their offices,” reports a News Express Special Correspondent.
“Elsewhere in the mega city, StanbicIBTC, Zenith Bank and First Bank are open at the popular Allen Avenue,” he further reports.
Another Special Correspondent who monitored compliance around the State Secretariat, Alausa, reports that normal business activities as going on. “The UBA branch at the nearby Testing Ground is open and transacting normal business,” she reports.
Up North in Katsina State, chapters of the NLC and TUC joined the strike, saying it would continue until the government at all levels wakes up to its responsibility.
The level of compliance across the state capital was seen to be widespread, with all public institutions, including the NLC Secretariat, withdrawing their services and all entrances remaining under lock and key.
In private institutions, people were seen going about their normal business with filling stations, among others, fully and properly functioning.
In Rivers State, activities outside the Federal Secretariat in Port Harcourt showed skeletal services appeared to be ongoing, although many workers had yet to arrive at 10:30 a.m.
Workers in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) observed partial compliance to the directive by the organised labour to it members to embark on an indefinite nationwide strike.
At the Federal Secretariat, workers were seen going about their normal duties.
Also, at the Area one old Secretariat, workers were also seen going in and out of the place.
Commercial banks such as Guaranty, Union, First Bank, among other banks in Area 3 and 8 were opened for operation as some customers were seen going in and out of the place.
Some schools were open and lessons were on going.
Also, some workers who spoke said that the nationwide indefinite strike was uncalled for.
They said that people are already suffering and the economy was not friendly and with the indefinite strike it would increase the hardship on the people.
The strike comes on the heels of the physical assault NLC National President Joe Ajaero was subjected to in Imo State two weeks ago when he and other NLC members were in the South-East state for a demonstration over “non-payment of salaries and pensions for 44 months and violation of other labour rights”.
The protest was viewed in some circles as an attempt to scuttle the re-election bid of Governor Hope Uzodimma in last Saturday’s governorship election.
Following Ajaero’s ordeal, the organised labour called for a nationwide strike beginning today.
However, the National Industrial Court (NIC) restrained them from embarking on the strike action in the wake of the impasse with the Imo State Government.
In spite of the court order, the unions, in a statement on Monday, directed workers nationwide to withdraw their services at midnight.
“In furtherance to the decision of the Joint National Executive Council (NEC) of NLC and TUC, all workers in Nigeria are hereby directed to withdraw their services effective 12:00 midnight today, 13th November 2023,” the unions said in a joint statement.
“Consequently, all affiliates and state councils of NLC/TUC are directed to issue circulars for maximum compliance and these circulars be made available to the National Secretariats or posted to the NEC and CWC Whatsapp Platforms.”
The Presidency, on Tuesday, criticised the nationwide strike of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and the Trade Union Congress of Nigeria (TUC) as “unwarranted”, arguing it is an attempt to blackmail the government.
The Special Adviser to the President on Information and Strategy, Bayo Onanuga, in a statement, expressed dismay that the strike proceeded, despite a restriction order by the National Industrial Court.
“This decision by the NLC and TUC other than being an ego tripping move is clearly unwarranted. It is an attempt to blackmail the government by the leadership of the NLC,” the statement said.
“We are still at a loss as to why the NLC and TUC decided to punish a whole country of over 200million people over a personal matter involving the NLC President, Mr. Joe Ajaero, whose error of judgment led to assault on him in Owerri while he was planning to incite the workers in Imo State into a needless strike.” –Text excluding headline, NAN/Channels TV/News Express
-November 14, 2023 @ 13:52 GMT |