The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and the Trade Union Congress (TUC) remain resolute in their decision to commence a nationwide strike on October 3, 2023. As this strike approaches, Nigerians are bracing themselves for potential fuel scarcity and a nationwide blackout.
Adding to the gravity of the situation, the Nigeria Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG) and the National Union of Electricity Employees (NUEE) have pledged their support for the indefinite strike.
Healthcare workers have also issued a warning, stating that they will not be available to attend to patients in hospitals during the strike, while judiciary staff have disclosed that courts nationwide will be closed.
Senior officials from NUPENG and NUEE have made it clear that the unions will disrupt petrol and electricity supplies once the strike commences.
Williams Akporeha, the National President of NUPENG, emphasized their unwavering commitment to the strike, stating, “We are an affiliate of NLC and we will follow their directives without compromise.”
Dominic Igwebuike, the acting General Secretary of NUEE, reiterated their solidarity with the strike, emphasizing their readiness to shut down power supply if the government fails to avert the walkout. He pointed out that power sector employees, despite being essential workers, are also Nigerians facing the same economic challenges as others.
Igwebuike clarified that the earlier September 5 and 6 walkout didn’t fully disrupt power stations as it was a warning strike. However, he stressed that the upcoming strike starting on October 3 would lead to a complete shutdown of the country’s electricity grid.
He urged the Federal Government to address the labor unions’ demands to prevent the impending hardships the strike could bring to Nigerians.
In a related development, healthcare workers, represented by the Joint Health Sector Unions (JOHESU) and the National Association of Nigeria Nurses and Midwives, have declared their intention to participate in the nationwide strike. They cited the government’s failure to implement salary structure upgrades and provide palliatives as the reason for their involvement. While they plan to render minimal services, they expect that health services in government-owned facilities will be significantly disrupted.
The National President of the National Union of Allied Health Professionals (NUAHP), Kamal Ibrahim, confirmed that members of his union will also join the nationwide strike.