Labour unions announce nationwide strike over minimum wage, electricity tariff disputes

The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and Trade Union Congress (TUC) have declared a nationwide strike starting on Monday, June 3rd, 2024. The strike is in response to the failure of the tripartite committee to reach an agreement on a new minimum wage and the recent hike in electricity tariffs.

The decision to strike was announced by Festus Osifo, the President of the TUC, during a joint press conference with the NLC leadership in Abuja on Friday, May 31, 2024. The labour leaders stated that the strike follows the expiration of their earlier request to the Federal Government to conclude all negotiations for a new minimum wage before the end of May.

“In light of this persistent inaction, we, the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and the Trade Union Congress (TUC), hereby issue a notice of commencement of an indefinite nationwide strike to the Federal Government,” Osifo said.

“We reiterate that since the National Minimum Wage negotiation exercise has not been concluded and the agreed wage passed into law; the hike in electricity tariff has not been reversed and the categorization of consumers into Bands has not stopped as demanded; Nigerian workers are compelled by these failures to embark on an indefinite nationwide industrial action beginning on Monday, the 3rd of June, 2024 to press home our demands.”

The organised labour had once pulled out of the negotiation and rejected two Federal Government offers, the latest being N60,000. They are insisting on N497,000 as minimum wage.

Since the removal of fuel subsidy and the floating of the naira, the cost of living in Nigeria has reached new highs, heightening calls for a new minimum wage.

In the wake of the development, labour leaders have reeled out several measures including a new minimum wage, alternative modes of transportation, and others to cushion the impact of the subsidy removal.

The government later set up a committee made up of labour leaders, government officials, and the organised private sector to negotiate a new minimum wage.

Despite several meetings, the committee failed to reach a consensus, prompting the recent strike action by the labour leaders. The Federal Government is yet to comment on the TUC and NLC’s latest move.

The nationwide strike is expected to have a significant impact on various sectors of the economy, including transportation, banking, and manufacturing. Essential services such as healthcare and emergency response may also be affected, causing inconvenience to the general public.

Though the Federal Government has not yet issued an official statement regarding the labour unions' decision to strik, it is expected that negotiations will continue between the government and the labour leaders in an effort to resolve the dispute before the strike commences on Monday.

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