A Dark Season Of Strikes

A Dark Season Of Strikes
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Amid the ongoing economic hardship and security challenges being experienced by Nigerians, some major economic sectors in the country have decided to shut down over their differences with the Federal Government.

In less than a week, about three major sectors embarked on indefinite strike actions to register their grievances against the Federal Government.

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This is happening a few days after President Muhammadu Buhari departed Nigeria for the United Kingdom for a routine medical check-up.

Following ‘unproductive’ efforts by the FG to stop the National Association of Resident Doctors (NARD) from embarking on its proposed strike, the association, on Thursday, April 1, commenced an industrial action, shutting down the medical sector indefinitely.

NARD alleged that the Federal Government had reneged in the agreements it entered with the doctors.

The aggrieved doctors’ agitations include the non-payment of salaries of three to five months of some house officers and non-recruitment of house officers.

Others are abolishment of the bench fees for doctors undergoing training in other hospitals, non-payment of National Minimum Wage and hazard allowances.

NARD also demanded an upward review of the current hazard allowance to 50 percent of consolidated basic salaries of all health workers.

The action became worrisome when last Monday, the resident doctors ordered members at the COVID-19 isolation centres to join the nationwide strike, shutting down the entire health sector.

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The NARD further threatened to impose a fine of N5m on any of its branches that failed to join the strike.

Similarly, the Judiciary Staff Union of Nigeria (JUSUN), last Tuesday shut down the judicial arm in the country as the union embarked on an indefinite strike with all courts across the nation locked up.

According to the national leadership of JUSUN, the strike action is to press home their demand for the financial autonomy of the judiciary.

A circular signed by JUSUN’s General Secretary, I. M. Adetola directed all states and zonal heads of the union to comply with the strike.

As Nigerians were trying to comprehend the actions of NARD and JUSUN, figuring out the level of hardship it may further cause, they were confronted with heartbreaking news of the Academic Staff Union of Polytechnics (ASUP) proceeding on an indefinite strike.

The union also shut down Nigerian Polytechnics last Monday, demanding the implementation of a new salary scheme for polytechnic lecturers.

Leaders of the union led by its president, Anderson Ezeibe, made the declaration shortly after an emergency meeting with the Federal Government officials in Abuja.

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Currently, the education sector is down, courts are locked up, hospitals shut down amid threats by the Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU, The Nigeria Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG) and other unions to also embark on industrial actions.

AljazirahNigeria is concerned by the recent threat by the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) that they are ready to shut down the country if the National Assembly does not rescind its plan to remove minimum wage from the exclusive list bill.

A coalition of NLC, Trade Union Congress (TUC), National Union of Local Government Employees (NULGE), and several other groups staged coordinated protests across several states in the country to express their grievances over the move by the lawmakers.

The union had several times threatened industrial actions over an increase in petroleum price and the non-implementation of the N30, 000 minimum wages in some states.

The Agriculture sector is not left out in this shutdown, even though it may not be in the form of a formal strike action. There is now a general fear that going to the farm is almost synonymous with suicide due to the activities of bandits and the killer herdsmen attacking innocent farmers across the country.

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It is no longer news that most farmers have abandoned their farms for fear of attack by herdsmen or bandits.

This has plunged the country into an acute food shortage causing a resultant spike in food prices while making life miserable for the masses.

Some concerned Nigerians who reacted to the ugly trend blamed President Buhari’s administration for not being proactive in tackling crises during their breeding stages.

Some final year students of Federal Polytechnics across the country have also expressed shock over the decision of ASUP to shut down polytechnics.

They opined that despite what COVID-19 did to them in 2020, the Union has decided to keep them at home again.

AljazirahNigeria is deeply worried over the dark phase the country is currently facing under the unusual challenges and stresses that until the government takes proactive steps in ending the economic and security crisis, the worst may happen.

Aljazirahnews


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