Kogi workers commence indefinite strike

The organised labour in Kogi state on Thursday declared commencement of strike following the failure of the state government to meet their demands.

The workers, under the aegis of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), the Trade Union Congress (TUC) and the Public Service Joint Negotiating Council (PSJNC), said they were ready to sit at home for eternity if it takes the government eternity to accede their demands.

Besides, the labour unions raised the alarm over the plans of government to embark on massive retrenchment, adding that this had already started with permanent secretaries.

Addressing newsmen in Lokoja, the state capital, the state chairman of TUC, Ranti Ojo, said the strike, which would be total, resumed after the expiration of the seven-day ultimatum given to government by the unions.

The strike is coming just as the coalition of unions at the local government level also issued a seven-day ultimatum to government, following which they would also embark on strike if their demands were not met.

Ojo stated that there was the need for the workers to emabrk on the strike as government refused to negotiate or dialogue with them since the last mandatory ultimatum was issued.

He said, “We want to solemnly let you know that this strike is the only line left for workers in Kogi state to negotiate their survival in the hands of this government. This is because never in the history of our state has civil servants recorded the massive hunger induced death as being witnessed currently, not to talk of the trauma, anguish, pains, sickness, penury, truncation of children’s education, huge unsettled house rent/medical bills that workers/pensioners are currently experiencing. We must rise against this now or never.

“The government white paper on the screening exercise being currently implemented is aimed at achieving massive retrenchment of workers precisely all those in the directorate cadre and civil servants that have five years and below to retire. This has already started with permanent secretaries”.

He said the workers had been directed to stay away from government offices, establishments, institutions and facilities as the strike would be total.

Addressing the workers, the TUC chairman said, “You are to ignore and discountenance all threats, intimidation and blackmail from government quarters as the escapades of tyrants can only be checked by courage perseverance and resoluteness”.

Also speaking, the state president of the Nigeria Union of Local Government Employees (NULGE), Tade Adeyemi, said the union, the Nigeria Union of Teachers (NUT), the Medical and Health Workers Union of Nigeria (MHWUN) and the Non Academic Staff Union (NASU) would join the strike at the expiration of ultimatum next Monday.

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