- Aviation and Bank Workers’ Unions Join the Strike, Threatening Airport Operations and Banking Activities
The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) has expressed its determination to proceed with a nationwide strike scheduled for Wednesday, despite a court order obtained by the Federal Government to restrain the union and the Trade Union Congress (TUC) from carrying out the industrial action. The strike is in protest against the removal of fuel subsidy.
NLC President Joe Ajaero, in an interview, stated that the union was not aware of the court order as it came late after business hours. Ajaero affirmed that the strike would continue as planned, and by the time the order is served, the NLC office would be empty as members would be mobilizing for the strike.
The court order was issued by Justice O. Y. Anuwe of the National Industrial Court, who cited the potential disruption of economic activities and essential sectors if the strike were to proceed. The Inspector-General of Police, Usman Baba, also ordered effective police deployments to prevent the protests from being hijacked by hoodlums.
The NLC had earlier announced that the strike action would be indefinite, with no specific duration mentioned. Akeem Hambali, the National Treasurer of NLC, stated that the strike would commence on Wednesday, unless otherwise directed by the National Executive Council.
To avert the strike, the government called for a meeting with NLC leaders at the Presidential Villa, which was still ongoing at the time of reporting. Previous meetings between the government and labor leaders had ended in a deadlock, and the NLC was absent from the most recent meeting held on Sunday.
The Federal Government filed a suit through the Ministry of Justice, seeking an interim injunction to prevent the NLC and TUC from proceeding with the strike. The court granted the order and specified that the two labor centers should be served with the necessary documents. The court also fixed June 19 for the hearing in the suit.
Aviation and bank workers’ unions have declared their support for the strike and instructed their members to participate, which could potentially disrupt airport operations and banking activities nationwide. The National Union of Air Transport Employees, the Association of Nigeria Aviation Professionals, and the National Association of Aircraft Pilots and Engineers issued a notice instructing members to withdraw their services starting from 12 am on Wednesday.
The National Union of Banks, Insurance and Financial Institution Employees (NUBIFIE) also announced its participation in the strike, in solidarity with the NLC. The President of NUBIFIE, Mohammed Sheikh, directed all branches and organs of the union to ensure strict compliance with the congress directive.
However, the President of the Air Transport Services Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (ATSSSAN), Ilitrus Ahmad, stated that his union would not participate in the strike as they are not affiliated with the NLC.
The Trade Union Congress (TUC) is set to hold another meeting with the government on Tuesday evening to further discuss the impact of the fuel subsidy removal. During a previous meeting, the TUC presented a charter of demands, including a review of the minimum wage to N200,000 and tax breaks for workers. The government’s team assured the TUC that their demands would be delivered to President Bola Ahmed Tinubu for review.
As the nation awaits the outcome of the ongoing meeting at the Presidential Villa, the possibility of a nationwide strike looms, threatening to disrupt various sectors and economic activities if the NLC proceeds as planned.