Workers boycott NLC strike; compliance in only few states

Civil Servants Resuming Work at the Federal Secretariat in Abuja despite Nigeria Labour Congress’ call for strike on Wednesday (18/5/16). 3620/18/5/2016/BJO/NAN

Normal activities continued in Abuja, Bauchi, Yobe, Kano, Adamawa, Jigawa and Bayelsa States Wednesday as residents ignored the call by the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) to embark on strike over the increase in pump price of fuel.

But the strike largely successded in Gombe and Plateau States where schools, banks and government offices were closed.

In Abuja, all government offices, banks, schools and markets remained open with workers at their duty posts.

Amid tight security, labour leaders, who marched from the federal secretariat, did not force people to comply with the strike order.

In neighbouring Kaduna, schools, banks, offices and business were opened for business.

The NLC restricted the strike to the state secretariat along Independence Way in Kaduna.

Adamu Ango, chairman of the Kaduna NLC, told PREMIUM TIMES that because of the peculiar problems of security, Katsina, Kano, Bauchi and Kaduna chairmen met earlier and resolved not to hold any street procession.

“That is why we restricted our members to carry out the strike within NLC premises. Those who want to remain at home can remain at home, those who choose to go to work have gone to work,” he said.

He said members who defied the strike order would be sanctioned.

In Bauchi where some youths demonstrated on Tuesday in support of the deregulation of the downstream oil sector, labour officials did not attempt to enforce the strike.

A civil servant working with the state government, Sanusi Ibrahim, said most workers were not in support of the strike.

“When we were not paid our salary for over eight months, what did the NLC do?

“Before the removal of subsidy, we were buying fuel at the cost of N300 per litre; in some states, even N500.

“Now the fuel is available at maximum of N145. The NLC should leave us alone,” he was quoted by the News Agency of Nigeria as saying.

Contacted on telephone Wednesday for his comment, Chairman of NLC in the state, Hashimu Gitel, told NAN that he was on his way to Abuja.

Normal activities were also ongoing on in Damaturu, the Yobe state capital, with banks, schools, hospitals, state and federal secretariats open for business.

In Adamawa State, normal activities were going on in Yola, the capital, and other major towns as schools, banks, markets, as well as the State and Federal secretariats remained opened.

Some residents said they were not convinced that the strike was the best alternative in the present circumstance.

Adamu Danwanzam, the chairman of Yola Perishable Food Items Sellers Association, said his members were not in support of the strike action, according to NAN.

Also speaking, the state chairman of Private School Proprietors in Adamawa, Dijatu Balla, said her members had no business with the strike action.

Husaini Isa, chairman of Commercial Tricycle Association in Adamawa, also distanced his members from the strike, pointing out that for many months, his members had been buying fuel for N200 per litre, as such the new prize of N145 per litre was a relief.

At the state secretariat in Yola, most government offices were opened. Some workers openly challenged labour leaders who visited the secretariat at about 10AM.

When contacted, the state NLC chairman, Dauda Maina, said he could not comment as he was still in Abuja.

“I am still in Abuja where I missed my flight back due to lack of aviation fuel, but I have given mandate to my vice and other union officials to ensure compliance with the strike,” Mr. Maina said.

Plateau and Gombe go on strike

In Dutse, Jigawa State, people went about their normal businesses.

At the State and Federal secretariats, civil servants were seen attending to their official duties.

In Gombe State, the strike order was however in full force as the NLC Monitoring Committee went round to ensure compliance.

Most places of work, schools, banks and the state radio and television stations were closed.

The strike was also enforced in Plateau State.

The gate of the state secretariat was under lock, as labour officials barred civil servants from the office.

Similarly, the Plateau Radio and Television and the state-owned newspaper, the “Nigeria Standard”, located at Joseph Gwomwalk road, were also shut.

Labour union leaders also locked the Plateau State Polytechnic at Hiepang, and the Jos campus, and the State High court.

At press time, most civil servants who went to work early, had returned home, while some banks that opened for business, were compelled to close.

At the Jos Main market, only a few major shops opened for business, possibly for fear of an outbreak of violence.

Most residents of the volatile state, remained indoors.

Down south, only a handful of Ogun State workers took part in street protest.

The protest was led by the NLC chairman of the state‎, Akeem Ambali, and chairman, Committee on Defence and Human Rights, Olayinka Folarin.

The protesters walked through major roads, accompanied by police and other security agencies.

Some commercial banks closed, while others also provided skeletal services.

While some ministries were open, workers stayed indoors. Also, some pupils returned home from school earlier than normal.

At the markets and motor parks, normal activities were ongoing.

In Bayelsa, civil servants shunned the strike and turned up for work.

The main secretariat and offices in Yenegoa, capital of Bayelsa opened for work as civil servants reports early to work.

Many of the workers in the main secretariat reported to office as early as 8am.

Tonye Ayama, a civil servant, said the NLC in the state was yet to address workers.

“So, we are still waiting to hear from the Labour Union; if they say there is strike, then we can go back to our houses,” Mr. Ayama said.

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