June 20, 2024

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Nigeria-wide strike: Union workers shut down the National Grid in protest over the minimum wage

Nigeria-wide strike: Union workers shut down the National Grid in protest over the minimum wage

Akintunde Akinleye/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock

The strike has severely affected travel, with passengers stranded at major airports in Lagos and Abuja.



CNN

A nationwide strike in Nigeria halted air travel and plunged the country into darkness on Monday, as unionized workers stormed the national grid and shut down the country’s power supply, according to the Transport Corporation of Nigeria (TCN).

Tens of millions were left without power and flights were grounded, as the Nigerian Labor Congress (NLC) and Trade Union Congress (TUC) went on indefinite strike.

The company said that TCN workers were beaten and injured while being forcefully removed from the control rooms. Swinging cane The workers were also unionized He was seen in photos circulating on social media On Monday, employees of the country’s tax agency were ordered out of their offices.

This strike comes after the failure of negotiations with the government to raise the federal minimum wage. Unions also protested the recent increase in electricity tariffs.

The unions’ demands include raising the minimum wage from 30,000 naira ($22.4) to 494,000 naira ($369.6). Presidential aide Bayo Onanuga rejected these demands, describing them as “unreasonable.” mail On the social media platform X.

Onanuga added that the government proposed a 100% increase to 60,000 naira ($44.89), which the unions rejected, demanding a 1,547% increase instead.

Although it is The fourth largest economy in Africathe minimum wage in Nigeria is not among Top ten on the continentlagging far behind countries such as Seychelles, where workers Earning a minimum wage of $465.4 per month.

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The strike has severely affected travel, with passengers stranded at major airports in Lagos and Abuja. Airport workers confirmed to CNN that all incoming and outgoing flights have been halted, further worsening the crisis.

Nigerian doctor Olusena Ajidahun told CNN that healthcare services have been severely affected.

“I am concerned because the state of the healthcare system is on the verge of collapse,” he said, adding that his medical facility in southwestern Nigeria was unable to operate vital hospital equipment due to the shutdown of the national grid.

“In the morning, it was the emergency (unit) and it was dark everywhere. Patients and healthcare workers were all in the dark.

Nigerian Justice Minister Lateef Fagbemi declared the strike illegal letter to trade unions, calling it “premature and ineffective,” in a statement published by Onanuga.

The strike sparked mixed reactions from Nigerians on social media, with some declaring their support, while others said it was harming citizens.

“I support the strike by NLC. Minimum wage of 30k or 60k in 2024 in Nigeria is unsustainable and unacceptable. books Lawyer Festus Ogun in a post on X.

“The National Liberation Congress must refrain from actions that punish the common man – the ordinary Nigerian. Electricity, roads, airports and other critical infrastructure must be left to operate as usual. Argue Management Consultant, Debo Owojedi.

Nigeria faces many economic challenges, including the devaluation of its currency, which has fallen to record levels in recent months, as well as a cost-of-living crisis marked by rising prices for food, transportation and health care. Inflation has reached 33.69%according to the country’s data office, is the highest in nearly three decades.

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The administration of President Bola Tinubu has faced criticism over controversial spending of public funds, sparking public anger.

Last month the president It agreed to support worth 90 billion naira ($67 million). For Muslims who attend the Hajj, and he has previously been Approved budgets are in millions of dollars For luxury SUVs and renovations of presidential residences, as well as vehicles for the First Lady’s office, which is not officially recognized under Nigerian law.

Presidential spokesman Ajuri Ngilali admitted that the current wage is ‘Unsustainably low’ But he warned that the rise proposed by unions would have dire economic consequences, including significantly higher school fees and the possibility of mass retrenchments if schools and other institutions cannot afford the pay rise.

“Nigerian parents will now have to contend with school fees that are 10 times higher than what they pay today… Will schools be required to pay cooks, cleaners and others 20 times more in wages?” He said.