On Monday, June 3, 2024, the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) and the Trade Union Congress (TUC) declared an indefinite strike after negotiations with the Federal Government about a new minimum wage broke down. 

Background 

Following President Tinubu’s decision to scrap fuel subsidy payments in May 2023, the labour unions vowed to go on strike if the government didn’t increase the minimum wage. Talks started between both parties, working with an 8-week timeline to raach an agreement. But this didn’t happen. 

A year later, the trade unions intensified their efforts to get the government to agree to their demands. The unions initially proposed a new minimum wage of ₦615,000, but reduced this to  ₦495,000. However, the government argued that the number was unsustainable and offered the unions ₦57,000 instead. 

The negotiations broke down on Friday, May 31, after the government increased its offer to ₦60,000. On the same day, organised labour announced that it would commence a nationwide indefinite strike on Monday, June 3, 2024. 

Did the labour union cut off the country’s electricity supply?

Multiple news reports confirmed that the striking union shut down the country’s power grid. According to a statement published on NTA, the shutdown happened on Monday morning. 

“At about 1:15 a.m. this morning, the Benin Transmission Operator under the Independent System Operations unit of TCN reported that all operators were driven away from the control room and that staff that resisted were beaten while some were wounded in the course of forcing them out of the control room and without any form of control or supervision, the Benin Area Control Center was brought to zero.”

While the Transmission Company of Nigeria mentioned that a fix is underway, it’s unclear when the national grid will be back up.

Have banking and airport operations been halted?

Banks and airport employees were also expected to join the strike. At the time of writing, bank operations hadn’t been halted.

However, the labour unions blocked all entry points to the Murtala Muhammad Airport in Lagos and Nnamdi Azikiwe Airport in Abuja, disrupting flight operations.

Did the academic unions join the strike?

Yes. The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) has also decided to join the strike. On Monday, ASUU President Emmanuel Osodeke asked the academic staff across Nigerian universities to join the strike. 

His statement read, “The NLC has declared an indefinite strike action beginning from Monday, 3rd June 2024, as a result of the failure of the Government to conclude the renegotiation of minimum wage for Nigerian workers and reversal of hike in electricity tariff.

Our branches are hereby enjoined to join in the strike action as an affiliate member of Congress.”

Is the National Assembly complex out of water?

True. The Parliamentary Staff Association of Nigeria (PASAN), an affiliate of NLC, has cut off the water supply at the National Assembly. Multiple reports also state that other services within the complex were disrupted, as the workers have discontinued all official activities.

Have the FG and Organised Labour reached an agreement?

Representatives of the government invited the leadership of the unions to a meeting on the evening of Monday, June 4, 2024. Following hours of negotiations, the parties reached a few resolutions.

i. The Federal Government is open to agreeing to a new minimum wage number that’s higher than ₦60k.

ii. The unions will meet every day for the next week to figure out a number that works.

That said, the unions maintained that the strike hasn’t been called off, pending meetings with its decision-making bodies to discuss the government’s offer.

Organised Labour temporarily suspends industrial action

On Tuesday, June 4, the leadership of the organised labour announced a suspension of the industrial action for five days, following an agreement reached with the FG on Monday, June 3.

“The President of Nigeria, Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, is committed to establishing a National Minimum Wage higher than ₦60,000; and the Tripartite Committee will convene daily for the next week to finalise an agreeable National Minimum Wage,” the agreement stated.

The industrial action had halted economic and government activities across the nation for two days.

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