- Oscarline Onwuemenyi
16 September 2017, Sweetcrude, Abuja – The United Labour Congress (ULC) comprising of major workers’ unions from the oil and gas companies, telecommunication and electricity sectors of the other Nigerian economy has issued a final notice on the proposed nationwide strike to Federal Government.
The Congress headed by General Secretary, National Union of Electricity Employees (NUEE) Mr. Joe Ajaero, and President of the National Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG), Comrade Igwe Achese, announced at the end of a meeting of its policy organ in conjunction with its Strike Committee to “give final approval to the strike action as we await further response from the federal Government. After this meeting, members of the Press shall be addressed on its outcome,” Didi Adodo, ULC General Secretary said in a statement.
The seven day ultimatum threat notice dated 8th September, 2017, which is expected to elapse on Friday, 15th September, 2017, was sent to the Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr. Chris Ngige, and is expected to paralyze key sectors of the nation’s economy.
According to Adodo, the Union “will embark on a nationwide strike without further notice. It is important to inform you that the official response we received from the Federal Government on this matter vide a letter from the federal Ministry of Labour fell grossly short of addressing the issues raised by us and which warranted an ultimatum in the first instance.
“Congress therefore held an emergency meeting which deliberated on the said letter and was roundly found unsatisfactory and therefore unacceptable by the organ of the federation as our demands were not met. It therefore resolved to press on with the strike thus issued a final strike notice in fulfillment of the relevant statutes and traditions of engagement within the nation’s industrial relations space.”
He added that, “Mobilisation still continues nationwide as State councils and affiliates are at red alert to ensure that if the federal Government remains unbending to our demands, we shall unfortunately be forced to embark on a compelling total strike across the nation which will be part of our contribution to governance effectiveness in Nigeria.”
The Union also called for immediate withdrawal of Army and Police from workplaces and factory premises, as a measure to stop employers who are now colluding with the Army and other security agencies from setting up garrisons in our factories for the purposes of intimidating and harassing workers in order to deny them their rights and privileges.
The Federal government was also urged to embark on immediate review of the privatisation of the Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN) to save Nigerians the agony of suffering under the suffocating darkness which the Gencos and Discos have foisted on the nation.
Others include: demands for immediate payment of all the arrears of salaries owed Nigerian workers at all levels of Government without exception; implementation of 2009 agreement with University Lecturers under the umbrella of ASUU and immediate repair of all roads leading to all the petroleum refineries and Depots nationwide.
The Congress also demanded for release of registration certificate of the ULC; immediate inclusion of all representatives of labour in the various committees, Agencies and Directorates of Government and not singling out just one centre for these purposes negating the tenets of the nation’s Laws; immediate inauguration of the national minimum wage negotiating committee in line with the above so that it can commence sitting instantly, among others.
To this end, the Congress warned that “if these demands are not met on or before Friday the 15th of September, the ULC shall embark on industrial actions to assist your Government respect the interests of workers and the citizenry.”