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Nigerians Groan As Health Workers Join Strike



The ongoing strike by organised labour to press home their demand for the implementation of a new minimum wage may take a worse toll as hospitals are expected to shut down following a directive by the Medical and Health Workers Union of Nigeria (MHWUN) to their members to join the strike.
Meanwhile, LEADERSHIP Friday observed that banks and public offices were shut in compliance with the strike, just as filling stations in major cities also complied with the directives by labour.
Addressing journalists in Abuja yesterday, MHWUN president, Comrade Josiah Biobelemoye said that the federal government had been insensitive to the plight of Nigerian workers.
He said, “We therefore wish to direct our members nationwide to key into this struggle as a matter of policy and (they) should not rest on our oars until we receive directives from the leadership of organised labour.”

According to him, the National Minimum Wage review was due in 2016, but the present administration pleaded with labour for understanding based on the fact that the economy was down, the administration was new and international crude market was dull.
He said, “We are told the economy is out of the woods, but inflation has eaten up the pittance known as minimum wage as the take home pay of the Nigerian worker can no longer take him home. Still government is being insensitive to the plight of the Nigerian worker.
“As the organised labour in conjunction with civil society allies commence warning strike to protest the refusal of the federal government to order the immediate resumption of the meeting of the Tripartite National Minimum Wage Committee in order for them to conclude their work, we at the Medical and Health Workers’ Union of Nigeria wish to register our unalloyed support to the Nigeria Labour Congress.”

Labour Pickets Lagos Airport, State Secretariat, Banks, Others
Organised labour-led by the Vice President of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Comrade Amechi Asugwuni, yesterday shut Lagos airport and banks’ branches which ignored the ongoing warning strike over national minimum wage.
Some members of the organised labour had earlier gone round all government agencies at Alausa Secretariat in Lagos to ensure that workers complied with the strike.
Labour leaders and their members went round to stop activities at branches of Access Bank, Stanbic IBTC and Guaranty Trust Bank, and workers of the banks were sent out of the premises of the banks.
The labour leaders also drove workers at the Lagos State Environmental Protection Agency (LASEPA) out of the premises of the parastatal.
Comrade Amechi Asugwuni, in an interview with LEADERSHIP Friday, said that he was satisfied at the level of compliance with the strike by workers.
When asked why owners and drivers of commercial buses failed to comply with the action, he said that they had been directed to stop operations.
“We are going round to enforce the strike and we will do everything legitimate to ensure that it stands. Nothing can be more unique than this,” he said, adding that the Labour leaders were still waiting for the federal government to call them for a meeting.
President of the Association of Senior Staff of Banks Insurance and Financial Institutions (ASSBIFI), Comrade Oyinkan Olasanoye and his team also joined other labour leaders to ensure that banks complied with the action.

…Maritime Workers paralyse Seaports
Economic activities were yesterday paralyzed at seaports nationwide as the Maritime Workers Union of Nigeria (MWUN) complied with the strike directive by the NLC.
Speaking exclusively to LEADERSHIP Friday, the president general of MWUN, Com. Adewale Adeyanyu, said: “We are complying with the national leadership and there won’t be economic activities at the seaports throughout the warning strike.”
The strike would lead to congestion at the seaside as vessels will be stranded with no workers to discharge cargoes in them. Also, it will paralyze customs activities as dockworkers used in the examination of cargoes would be absent.
It was observed that the Lagos port complex, Apapa, and the Tin Can Island Port were totally grounded, with MWUN reported to have shut the gates against clearing agents seeking entrance into the ports to clear cargoes.
Further findings showed that shipping companies, banks around Apapa were shut down. Only the Nigeria customs service officers were allowed entrance into the ports.
The public relations officer of the Association of Nigeria Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA) at Tin Can chapter, Mr. Emmanuel Onyeme, said that customs was ready to work but the stakeholders were not allowed entrance into the port by the labour union.

.. Partial compliance by banks
Although banks in most parts of Lagos opened for business as customers conducted transactions, some branches in Ikeja, and Victoria Island were closed for business.
Findings revealed that most banks had opened for business earlier in the day but had to close due to the picketing activities of the Labour Union.
However, customers were seen making use of the banks’ automated teller machines (ATM).

…Public schools shut
Public schools in Lagos State were yesterday shut to students and teachers as students were sent back home in compliance with the directive of labour unions.
Some of the shut schools visited by our correspondent include Anifowose Primary School, Ikeja; Agidingbi Primary School, Agidingbi, Ikeja and Ojodu Grammar School, Berger, Lagos.
A pupil at Ojodu Grammar School, Taiwo Ogunniyi, said that the teachers had to send them back home following a directive from the Nigeria Union of Teachers (NUT).

…Strike Paralyses Courts In Lagos
Lawyers and litigants yesterday felt the brunt of the seven- day warning strike declared by the organised labour as the courtrooms in Lagos were shut down.
A visit by our correspondent revealed that most of the members of the Judicial Staff Union of Nigeria (JUSUN) stayed away from work.
Some workers of the Federal High Court in Lagos who showed up for work in the morning later returned home because most of the courtrooms were under lock and key.
The same thing was noticed at all the divisions of the Lagos State High Court, the Court of Appeal, the National Industrial Court and all the Magistrate Courts across the state.
The Chief Registrar of the Lagos State High Court, Mrs Taiwo Olatokun, could not gain access to her office as the main door of the administrative building was chained and padlocked.

…No Disruption At Abuja Airport
LEADERSHIP Friday can exclusively report that normal activities continued at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja despite the strike by Labour.
As 2pm when our reporter left the airport, normal operations were going on smoothly at both the arrival and departure sections of the airport.
The General Secretary, Air Transport Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (ATSSAN), Francis Akinjole, said the reason why the strike had yet to be enforced at the airport was because all aviation union leaders were out of their stations.
He stated that all aviation unions in the country were currently attending their national delegates conference at Asaba, Delta.
According to him, aviation unions strongly backed the NLC on the strike even though they were not on ground to enforce it yesterday.
He explained that the delegates conference, at which a new leadership of the National Union of Air Transpirt Employees (NUATE), would be elected, had been planned before the decision by the labour unions to embark on a nationwide strike.
According to him, “We are currently in Asaba for NUATE’s national delegates conference for today and tomorrow and we shall enforce the compliance in aviation sector as soon as we finish from here.”
Also speaking, Station Manager for Max Air, Abdulahi Saroke said the strike had not affected flight operations in all airports, adding that he had received flights from Lagos and Kano.

…Govt Offices, Schools, Banks Shut Down in Ondo
Activities in all government offices in Ondo State were shut down yesterday in compliance with the ongoing industrial action.
Aside the government offices which were located in Alagbaka axis of the state, public secondary and primary schools, banks, public hospitals and state-owned media stations were all closed in compliance with the directive of the labour leaders.
Main entrance into the offices were under lock and key while the gates to both the State High Court, Appeal Court, Federal High Court which is located in Igbatoro area were also shut down in total compliance.
In Akure, Oba Ile, Owo, Ondo, Idanre, Ogbese, Ikare and Akungba Akoko, government ministries were closed while there were long queues at the ATM stands in many of these towns.
Few security guards sighted in the government ministries and manning the properties expressed happiness over the ongoing nationwide strike.
Adebisi Omowumi, a civil servant in the state, said she refused to show up at work due to the directive from the organised labour leaders.
“I heard in the news that we should all stay back at home to comply with the directive of the labour leaders who are pressing for a new minimum wage for us from the government,” she said.
Labour leaders in the state who moved round were seen forcefully moving some workers in the Ondo State government-owned radio station, Orange (94.9) FM, out of their station located in Irese.
The Ondo State Chairman of TUC, Mr Soladoye Ekundayo and his NLC counterpart, Tayo Ogunleye, represented by the state secretary, Adewale Sanusi, led the team of the enforcement team.
Mr. Ekundayo said all the government offices will remain shut down until the federal government bowed to their demand for a new minimum wage for workers.
“These offices will not open except there is another notice from all our organised labour leaders, while we have told the workers to remain in-doors till there is a new directive,” he said.

…Total Compliance In Kwara
The strike action was fully observed by workers in Kwara State. LEADERSHIP Friday gathered that the strike was observed fully in both state and federal government offices, just as the offices were also locked at the Ibadan Electricity Distribution Company (IBEDC), Ilorin.
Staff of the courts, ministries and the state’s radio and TV stations deserted their places of work.
Also, school pupils were sent home from their various schools, as teachers in public schools also joined in the strike action.
Speaking with journalists, the state chairman of the Trade Union Congress (TUC), Kolawole Olumoh, said that there was total compliance with the strike in the state.
He said, “Every government office is under lock and key, including and MDAs. All are under lock and key and none of our members in Kwara is working today. The office of the Head of Service is also under lock and key.
“We picketed some areas. There were some offices that we met workers. We had to picket them and send them out and blocked the premises. The offices we picketed include Education board and the NYSC office. At the complex housing BoI office, we sent them away. We also met some pupils and teachers in some schools. We asked the teachers to leave and we ensured that parents picked up their children. The picketing started around 9am”.

…Govt, Business Activities Grounded In Adamawa
Government and commercial activities were yeaterday grounded in Yola, as civil servants embarked on the strike action ordered by organised labour.
Government ministries, parastatals and agencies were under lock and keys, as workers joined their counterparts nationwide in the on going strike action over delay in the implementation of a new minimum wage.
When our correspondent visited the federal and state secretariat complexes, the were under lock and keys, with few workers seen outside the gates discussing.
Officials of the state Chapter of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) went round government establishments to ensure total compliance with the directive.
The private sector, however, did not join the strike action as markets, shops and other business places were in full operations. Banks and other financial institutions were equally closed, except for their ATM services that were attending to customers attempting to withdraw money.
Efforts to contact Com Dauda Maina, state chairman of the NLC, to comment on the strike proved abortive.

Ministries, Hospitals, Banks, Schools Shun nationwide Strike In Ebonyi
The nationwide industrial action by the organized Labour witnessed low compliance in Ebonyi State as staff of the Federal Teaching Hospital Abakaliki, FETHA, the National Obstetric Fistula Centre Abakaliki, most of the banks, ministries and other government agencies in the state opened as early as 8am.
Our correspondent who monitored the level of compliance within and outside the state capital also observed that teachers in most government owned schools and staff of government house Abakaliki were seen in their different offices attending to their official duties.
LEADERSHIP Friday also observed that apart from the state judiciary, Ministry of Finance, the different local government council areas, State Secondary Education Board (SEB) and Universal Basic Education Board (UBEB), staff of various government agencies were seen in their different offices carrying out their duties without disturbance by the organised Labour.
At the Federal Teaching Hospital and the National Fistula Centre, Abakaliki, the staff said that they were yet to be addressed by the union leaders to commence the industrial action.
They said they must get directives from the union leadership in the hospital before they would comply with the industrial action.
A worker at the hospital, Mrs Ngozi Uche said, “Yes, we heard about the industrial action on radio this morning but we don’t act on assumption. So, that is why we had to come to work this morning and this is 11am. Non of our union leaders have come to address us and we still assume that we are not part of the industrial action.
“As you can see, all of us are here attending to our duties; even the management workers of the hospital are all here and there is no way we would just stay at home without any official directive from the union.”

…Workers Shut Down Offices In Katsina
In fulfillment of its promise to embark on a warning strike to push for urgent action on a new minimum wage for Nigerian workers, the organised labour yesterday shut down all public and relevant corporate offices in Katsina State.
Some of the workers, who went to their offices yesterday morning, returned home after spending some time outside their gates, which were under lock and key in total compliance with the directive of the labour leadership.
Investigations revealed that most Katsina workers did not even bother to go to their places of work, having been directed by their unionleadership to stay away until after warning strike.
A cross section of members of the public who spoke with our reporter lamented that aside the state and federal public servants, all banks and the Katsina office of Kano Electricity Distribution Company, including some public institutions in the state withdrew their services to effect the industrial action.
At the Federal Medical Centre (FMC) Katsina, some health personnel who were however seen attending to few patients at the Out Patient Department (OPD) as well as Accident and Emergency Department said they were yet to receive any directive in respect of the strike.
At the Katsina General Hospital, medical services were yet to be withdrawn too as at yesterday morning.
The state NLC chairman, Comrade Tanimu Saulawa, told newsmen that the labour leadership had strategized to ensure total compliance, stressing that so far the action had been a success in the state.
Saulawa however assured that the union would continue to monitor compliance with its directive despite the fact that all affiliated bodies in the state were duly informed about the nationwide warning strike.

…Strike Records Low Compliance In Kaduna
The strike action embarked upon by the NLC over the new minimum wage recorded low compliance.
Our correspondent who visited some of the ministries at the state secretariat reports that workers and civil servants were seen carrying out their normal duties.
At the Nigeria Television Authority (NTA) headquarters located at Yakubu Gowon way, the staff were prevented by the labour strike task force team from having access to the premises, as the gate to the building was locked down.
Some bank workers also observed the seat-at-home order by labour, as banks were shut to customers.
The banks visited within the metropolis included Union Bank Plc and First Bank Plc located at Yakubu Gowon way, Kaduna.
Speaking to Journalists, Kabir Mogaji, a retired civil servant said the strike was long overdue, adding that the leadership of the Labour has shown some level of maturity in handling the issue by not going on strike as at when due.
Mogaji, commended the labour leadership on the decision to declare the strike, urging the federal government to yield to the demands of the civil servants.

…Ogun NLC Leaders Picket Govt Institutions, Strike Records Partial Compliance
The strike action embarked on by the national leadership of the NLC recorded partial compliance in Ogun state, as workers, students as well as university lecturers resumed for work across the state.
While government workers in the state reported for normal duties, students in public schools were also seen in their uniforms reporting to classrooms in expectation that their teachers will report for normal academic work.
Banking activities also recorded partial compliance, as few of the commercial banks like WEMA, Zenith were opened to customers.
LEADERSHIP Friday checks in Abeokuta, Ijebu-Ode, Sagamu and Sango-Ota showed that the state leadership of NLC went round major institutions where workers reported for duty and chased them out.
Our correspondent observed that few of the civil servants at the state secretariat complex located at Oke-Mosan, Abeokuta, the state capital, reported for work, while a substantial number of them kept off duty, thereby making the complex look like a ghost town.

…Partial Compliance In Enugu
In Enugu, our correspondent who went round yesterday observed that there was partial compliance with the strike action ordered by the national leadership of the organised labour.
It was further observed that all the banks and other cooperate bodies and most schools failed to carry out the directive.
But the situation was not the same at the Federal Government College located at Independence layout, as the doors of the school were under lock and key.
Some of the teachers of the school who failed to embark on the strike said they did not receive any directive to go on strike.
Addressing journalists yesterday on compliance level in Enugu, the chairman of the state chapter of Trade Union Congress (TUC), Comrade Chukwuma Igbokwe, said the compliance level was 60 per cent.
He attributed their inability to actualize 100 per cent compliance to gap in communication, adding that the meeting they had with government ended very late, hence their inability to get across to all the workers.
Igbokwe, however, hinted that they have communicated the directive of the national leaders of the organized labour to the workers, assuring that there would be 100 per cent compliance today

..Low Compliance In Benue
The nationwide industrial action embarked upon by the Nigeria Labour Congress to press home their demand for a new minimum wage yesterday witnessed partial compliance in Benue State.
The state and federal secretariats in Makurdi, the state capital, including commercial banks and business shops were opened when our correspondent went round some of the places.
Staff of commerical Banks and other business operators were seen in their business premises before NLC officials came to threaten them.
A staff of one of the commercial banks in Makurdi who spoke on condition of anonymity disclosed that she, along with other staff, resumed work for the day when some officials of the NLC stormed the premises and started forcing them to leave.
Reacting to the level of compliance in the state, the state chairman of NLC, Comrade Godwin Anya, said that the level of compliance by state workers was very encouraging.
He said, “No going back on this industrial action until we receive a directive from the national secretariat to that effect. Our monitoring team went round offices today to ensure compliance and we are believing that it would continue tomorrow (today)”.

…Govt Offices Closed In Ekiti
Civil Servants in Ekiti State yesterday complied with the 7-day warning strike declared by the national leadership of organised labour in the country.
The state secretariat, offices of the governor and his deputy were yesterday deserted, as workers failed to report for duty.
Local government secretariats and other public offices across the state remained under lock and key in compliance with the directive of the organized labour.
Commercial activities in Ado Ekiti, the state capital, went on undisturbed in the early hours of the day, unlike public offices, including state and federal agencies as well as public primary and secondary schools, which refused to open for operation.
Our correspondent who went round the town observed that some top management staff of ministries and agencies of the government were sighted, while no official in the junior and middle level reported for duty.
But those in the private sector, including private schools, fuel stations, markets, motor parks and banks opened for business for the greater part of the day.
Most banks in Ado Ekiti closed shops to customers at about 1:00pm after allegedly receiving calls that labour leaders were out to picket them.
The leadership of the organised labour in Ekiti State had on Tuesday directed all the workers in the state to join the nationwide strike.