Varied Reactions to Nigeria Labour Congress Strike in Southwestern States

Varied Reactions to Nigeria Labour Congress Strike in Southwestern States

On Tuesday, there were diverse reactions across the Southwestern states of Nigeria to the strike called by the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) in protest of the removal of fuel subsidy by the federal government. The NLC had declared a two-day nationwide strike to address the increasing hardship and suffering caused by the removal of the subsidy. The labor union is frustrated with the non-implementation of resolutions agreed upon in previous meetings with the federal government.

The Maritime Workers Union of Nigeria (MWUN) heeded the strike call and disrupted economic activities at the Apapa and Tin-Can Island Ports. The port gates leading to both seaports were locked, preventing access for officials and workers. Joy Onome, spokesperson for the Association of Nigeria Licensed Customs Agent (ANLCA), expressed concern over the potential congestion and increased demurrage fees at the port. She also called for additional days to be given to the agents to alleviate the impact of the strike.

Transporter Yusuf Liadi emphasized the detrimental effects of the strike on the already fragile economy. He highlighted the issues faced by importers, who would be burdened with demurrage and storage charges due to the inability to transport cleared containers. He called on the government to provide palliative measures to address the suffering caused by the removal of fuel subsidy.

Although the National Union of Banks, Insurance, and Financial Institutions Employees (NUBIFIE) had instructed all affiliated members to comply with the NLC strike, some commercial banks in Lagos remained open. Access Bank, First Bank, Guaranty Trust Bank (GTB), Zenith Bank, and Sterling Bank allowed customers to access their services. In markets such as Mile 12, Ketu, and Oyingbo, there were active transactions between traders and buyers. Commercial transport operators were also seen picking up passengers at various bus stops and motor parks.

In the state capital of Abeokuta, the state secretariat experienced minimal activity as many junior workers stayed away in compliance with the strike. However, senior workers who were members of the Trade Union Congress (TUC) did not participate in the strike. Some commercial banks had their workers present but did not open to customers.

The NLC Chairman, Hammed Benco, declared the warning strike a success, while the TUC Secretary, Adebiyi Olusegun, highlighted the different approaches taken by the two unions. In Ondo State, labor leaders enforced the strike by sending workers home from offices at the state secretariat, the Ministry of Agriculture, and the Ministry of Health. NLC Chairman Victor Amoko praised the successful strike and criticized the federal government for not doing enough to ease the burden of fuel subsidy removal on workers and the general public.

In response, the Head of Civil Service, Kayode Ogundele, asserted that Ondo State workers were not part of the strike, as the state NLC had not officially communicated its intention to strike. He stated that absenteeism from work without permission would have consequences in line with existing rules in the state public service. Banks in Akure and Ikare-Akoko remained closed, while customers expressed frustration with the lack of services and urged the government to address the hardship caused by the removal of fuel subsidy.

In Oyo State, banks and public hospitals were closed in compliance with the strike. First Bank, Guarantee Trust Bank, and Sterling Bank closed their branches in Ibadan, while only a few nurses were available to attend to emergency cases at Adeoyo State Hospital and Oni and Sons Hospital.

ENND

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