Fuel Scarcity, Blackout Looms As Unions Plan To Join Strike

Fuel Scarcity, Blackout Looms As Unions Plan To Join Strike

The organised labour unions (Nigeria Labour Congress and Trade Union Congress) have insisted on embarking on strike on the 3rd of October, 2023.

Ahead of the proposed strike, Nigerians may have to brace for fuel scarcity and nationwide blackout from Tuesday.

This is as the Nigeria Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas workers and the National Union of Electricity Employees vowed to join the indefinite strike.

Health workers also warned that they would not be available to attend to patients at the hospitals while the judiciary staff disclosed that the courts would be shut down nationwide.

Senior officials of NUPENG and NUEE who spoke with Punch revealed that the unions would ground petrol and electricity supply once the strike begins.

NUPENG’s National President, Williams Akporeha, said the union would implement every instruction issued by the NLC, adding that it was non-negotiable for NUPENG to join the strike.

Akporeha speaking on whether NUPENG would join the strike said, “We are an affiliate of NLC and we will follow their directives to the letter.”

The acting General Secretary of NUEE, Dominic Igwebuike speaking on the decision of the union said the association would ground power supply if the government fails to avert the proposed walkout.

He said, “NUEE is an affiliate of NLC and we are complying with the directive of the congress by joining the strike from Tuesday. Workers in various electricity companies are our members.

“So, we are ready to join the strike and our circular communicated that to our members. So, electricity workers are right now getting set to join the strike and this will lead to a massive shutdown of the power sector.”

Igwebuike who had earlier stated that though power sector employees are regarded as essential workers, insisted that they would still join the proposed strike.

He said, “People in the power sector are also Nigerians. There is no different market for people working in the essential services sectors. We all go to the same markets, pay school fees, buy fuel and face the same challenges. So we are Nigerians too.”

He explained that the September 5 and 6 walkout did not ground all the power stations because it was a warning strike, but stressed that the major strike beginning from October 3 would culminate in a complete shutdown of the country’s electricity grid.

Igwebuike urged the Federal Government to listen to the demands of the labour unions in order to avert the impending hardship that the proposed industrial action would bring upon Nigerians.

The healthcare workers under the aegis of the Joint Health Sector Unions and the National Association of Nigeria Nurses and Midwives also said they will join the planned nationwide strike.

The acting National Vice Chairman of JOHESU, Obinna Ogbonna on Wednesday said the health workers in the affiliates of the TUC and NLC would not report for work during the strike period.

Ogbonna stated, “We will join the strike fully and strongly because there was a circular released in the month of July 2023, by the National Salaries, Incomes and Wages Commission.

“It has to do with the upward review of Consolidated Health Salary Structure and Consolidated Medical Salary Structure and it stated that it will be implemented from June 2023, and the reason why it was so was because of the biting economic situation, but up till this moment, it has not been implemented.

“The palliatives that are meant to be done for us in the health sector have not been done. So, why are we not going to join the strike?”

Ogbonna noted that health services would be paralysed in government-owned facilities.

He added, “We will only render skeletal services, especially to those in the Intensive Care Units.”

The National President of the NUAHP, Kamal Ibrahim, said the members of his union will also participate in the nationwide strike.

He said, “We will be joining the strike and it is for the good of the people.”

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