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Subsidy Pains: NLC Vows To Ground The Economy, Begins Strike

The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) has declared its determination to disrupt the country’s economy through a two-day nationwide warning strike in response to the severe economic difficulties caused by the Federal Government’s removal of subsidies.

This action has garnered significant support from key stakeholders, including the banking sector, civil society organizations, and workers’ unions, who are joining forces to address the escalating economic crisis.

The National Union of Banks, Insurance and Financial Institutions Employees (NUBIFIE), the umbrella organization representing workers in the banking and insurance sector, has pledged its participation in the strike, effectively halting financial activities across Nigeria.

A statement signed by NUBIFIE’s General Secretary, Mr. Mohammed Sheikh, highlights the importance of their involvement in the NLC’s two-day warning strike, aimed at drawing the government’s attention to the dire economic situation facing Nigerians.

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NUBIFIE’s leadership has notified that all banks will be closed on Tuesday, September 5, and Wednesday, September 6, 2023, in accordance with the NLC’s directive.

According to the statement, these directives are crucial to compel the government’s attention and caution it against meddling in union matters rather than addressing the harsh economic circumstances facing the nation.

Mr. Aboderin Olusola, the Senior Deputy General Secretary of NUBIFIE, reiterated their commitment to the NLC’s cause, emphasizing the necessity of unity among industrial unions during these challenging times.

The United Action Front of Civil Society has also expressed its full support for the NLC’s two-day warning strike, denouncing the hardship inflicted on Nigerians by the government’s removal of fuel subsidies and subsequent increase in the price of petrol.

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The Maritime Workers Union of Nigeria has endorsed the Nigerian Labour Congress’s two-day warning strike, emphasizing that it is due to the government’s refusal to engage with organized labor on the consequences of the fuel price hike.

State chapters of labor unions across the country are also preparing for the strike. In Abia State, the NLC accused the state government of insensitivity to workers’ plights and called on affiliate unions to join the nationwide strike.

Similarly, organized labor in Kogi State has ordered its members to participate in the strike, citing the extensive hardships and deprivation affecting citizens.

As the strike’s commencement approaches, the Federal Government has appealed to organized labor to reconsider the strike, emphasizing its efforts to mitigate the impact of the fuel subsidy removal.

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The Minister of Labour and Employment, Simon Bako Lalong, urged the NLC to suspend the strike, emphasizing the need to maintain industrial harmony and prevent disruptions that could jeopardize the government’s ongoing efforts.

Meanwhile, the national leadership of the NLC has opted to boycott a reconciliatory meeting convened by the Minister, as negotiations could potentially hinder the strike.

The widespread support for the NLC’s strike reflects the frustration of many Nigerians grappling with economic hardships. As the protest unfolds, all eyes will be on how this drama shapes the nation’s response to its ongoing economic challenges.

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