Labour Declares Nationwide Strike For Nov 14, Locks Down Imo State

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Organised Labour has declared a total and indefinite nationwide strike action, starting from Tuesday, November 14, 2023, throughout the country.

They declared an immediate and total strike in Imo State from today Wednesday, with all flights, fuel supplies and electricity halted immediately.

The Nigerian Labour Congress, NLC, and Trade Union Congress, TUC, disclosed their decision after an emergency meeting in Abuja on Tuesday.

Their action comes on the trail of the attack on NLC President, Joe Ajaero, in Imo State last Wednesday, in which he and other labour leaders sustained serious injurious.

In a communiqué issued at the end of their joint National Executive Council, NEC, meeting yesterday, NLC and TUC directed all workers and affiliates to ensure total compliance.

Their grievances include Imo State workers’ outstanding salary arrears, unjust declaration of 11,000 workers as ghost employees, unsettled gratuities, non-compliance to N30,000 Minimum Wage Act, and declaration of 10,000 pensioners as ghost retirees.

In the communiqué signed by NLC’s Deputy President and TUC President, Prince Adewale Adeyanju and Festus Osifo respectively, the two labour centres said the joint NEC meeting deliberated on the distressing incident involving the abduction and assault on the NLC President, Comrade Joe Ajaero.

The NLC-TUC communiqué read:  “Additionally, the council addressed the appalling acts of violence and bloodshed inflicted upon him and fellow workers, who had assembled at the NLC Imo State secretariat in compliance with the directive on Imo State.

“These acts were perpetrated by the Imo State government, acting under the guidance of the governor and in collaboration with the Nigeria police.

“The Joint NEC-in-session unanimously condemned in very strong terms the actions of Hope Uzodimma, his goons and the Nigeria police.

“To this end, the joint NLC/TUC NEC-in-session observed that the decision to embark on an industrial action in Imo State was purely in keeping with its earlier resolution, Imo State government under Hope Uzodimma, continues in its abuse of the rights and privileges of workers in the state.

“The government has repeatedly reneged on agreements, most notably the accord reached on January 9, 2021, between the government and organised labour.

“Shockingly, some workers have been subjected to a staggering 20 months of unpaid salaries under the unfounded label of ‘ghost workers.

“Approximately 11,000 hardworking individuals have been unjustly branded as ghost workers, their salaries diverted, even while they diligently carried out their duties.

“The wanton destruction of the NLC state secretariat is a blatant attack on the rights of workers and a violation of the sanctity of their representative body.

“The introduction of discriminatory pay practices and the imposition of apartheid-like policies in determining monthly payments is an affront on fair labor practices.

“The government has failed to address the eight -year backlog of gratuity owed to retirees, showing a grave disregard to the rights of those who have dedicated their careers in service.

“The government has persistently shirked its duty to properly implement the N30,000 National Minimum Wage, a critical safeguard for the economic wellbeing of workers.

 “The government’s witch-hunts against trade union leaders through various guises constitutes an alarming assault on the right to represent and advocate the rights of workers.

“The continued deployment of thugs and violence against workers and their leaders is an unacceptable practice that undermines the democratic rights of workers.

“The impoundment and illegal diversion of union dues, funds rightfully belonging to the unions, is a gross violation of the rights of workers to manage their collective resources.

“Approximately 10,000 pensioners have been wrongly labeled as ghost pensioners, resulting in over 22 months of unpaid pensions, tragically leading to the loss of lives.

“The entire workforce is constantly subjected to threats of violence and sack, creating an environment of fear and uncertainty.

“The government’s persistent resistance to the use of the instruments of social dialogue and collective bargaining is an affront on the principles of fair labor practices.

 “The violent interference and disruption of the Imo State delegates’ conference demonstrates a blatant attempt to impose favored candidates on the workers, undermining their democratic rights.”

The communique recalled that “workers had gathered to peacefully protest these infractions by the governor at the secretariat of the NLC in Imo State as guaranteed by our extant labour laws and the constitution.

“The police supported a group of thugs, led by its SA on special duties, invaded the premises of Imo NLC secretariat and unleashed mayhem on the few workers who had gathered, inflicting injuries and stealing and damaging personal effects.

“The President of the NLC was subsequently subjected to brutalization, blindfolded and abducted by the police and taken to an unknown destination where he was further subjected to further violations and humiliation;

“The continued prevalence of the use of violence and impunity in negotiating rights and interests within the nation’s socioeconomic space against all known dictates of democracy and social dialogue.”

The communiqué stipulated the actions to be taken.

It said: “All workers and affiliates are expected to ensure compliance from wherever they are.  All flights into and out of Imo State, fuel supplies and electricity be stopped immediately as applicable.

‘’All public and private sector workers are to immediately down tools indefinitely.  If our demands are still unmet, workers all over the federation shall join in withdrawing their services by Midnight Tuesday, on November the 14, 2023. All state councils of NLC & TUC and affiliates are by this resolution, mandated to ensure full compliance with NEC’s decision.”

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