The Effect Of An Indefinite Strike On Nigerians And Businesses

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The Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) and Trade Union Congress (TUC) have commenced a nationwide and indefinite strike from midnight on Monday, 13th November, 2023. The union, led by Joe Ajaero; the President of the NLC, had threatened to embark on this strike about a week ago to call attention to the negligence of the Federal government towards the non-payment of salaries and pensions for 44 months. They also mentioned the violation of other labor rights as a reason for the strike.

In response to the strike threat, the court gave a restraining order to the unions against the strike, which they have strongly disobeyed and are adamant about calling off until their demands are met.

Festus Osifo, the TUC president, said in correspondence with Joe Ajaero that “The strike would remain until the Federal government at all levels wake up to their responsibility.”

The strike action has sparked a lot of reactions from Nigerian citizens and the government as well. Entrepreneurial citizens are now complaining about how this single inconsiderate act by the unions is affecting them and their businesses adversely. Some of them who intended to travel have been reported stranded at the Ujevwu train station in the Udu Local government area of Delta state. 

Moreover, some parts of the FCT are reportedly experiencing a blackout due to the shutdown of the National grid, which was caused by the withdrawal of electricity supply by the Transport Company of Nigeria (TCN) following the directives of the indefinite strike issued by the NLC and TUC. This move is going to disrupt a lot of citizens working remote jobs, as well as organizations in these power-supply-affected areas, as they cannot function as expected without electricity to recharge their devices.

The SA – special adviser to the President of information, Bayo Onanuga, came out to say that the strike action by the unions is a total disrespect to the judiciary. The government also expressed its grievances that the nation’s economy and social activities should not suffer because of the personal interests of any labor leader. However, it appears all of these mentioned displeasures and admonishments have fallen on deaf ears.

In a bid for reporters to trace the roots of these conflicts and differences between the labor congress and the Federal government, it has been discovered that the indefinite strike is a result of the harassment that the NLC President – Joe Ajaero faced about 2 weeks ago in Imo state. Joe Ajaero was brutally injured and bundled up in a vehicle for starting a protest and also enjoining other members of the NLC to be a part of; all against the negligence of the Federal government regarding the payment of salaries and pensions to government workers. Speculations have it that the protest aimed to rule out Governor Hope Uzodinma of Imo state, hence the attack on Joe Ajaero. While the strike might be uncalled for, some are of the opinion that this assault is a case of bully from above and that if the president of a prominent union can be assaulted, then anyone can, and nothing will be done about it.

As the nationwide strike continues, Nigerians are currently in utter confusion, and some businesses have been brought to a pause. Banks, medical unions, insurance bodies, and even the Academic staff union of universities have decided to comply with the nationwide strike. The government has yet to make any substantial effort to resolve the ongoing crisis, and citizens are hoping for a swift resolution to the situation

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