Lagos State is now under the grip of a nationwide strike as workers rally in support of the Nigerian Labour Congress and Trade Union Congress of Nigeria. The decision to initiate an indefinite strike, made during the National Executive Council meeting held on November 13, 2023, has resulted in widespread disruptions across the state, impacting essential services.
Despite a stern warning from the government, cautioning against the strike and citing a restraining order obtained from the National Industrial Court of Nigeria, workers in Lagos have pressed ahead, causing notable disruptions. The strike is a response to perceived governmental inaction on critical issues affecting workers, including concerns about the minimum wage, insecurity, corruption, and governance challenges.
The recent crisis in Imo, marked by the reported brutalization of NLC President Mr. Joe Ajaero and other union members, has further fueled the unions’ demands. The strike has effectively paralyzed train services, with Mr. Segun Esan, Secretary-General of the Nigeria Union of Railway Workers, confirming that no trains are operational. He underscored that all workers of the Nigerian Railway are duty-bound to participate in the nationwide strike, resulting in locked offices, stations, workshops, and inaccessible premises.
Additionally, the strike has impacted the banking sector, with Mr. Oluwole Olusoji, President of the Association of Senior Staff of Banks, Insurance, and Financial Institutions, confirming widespread compliance among members. Workers have been advised to prioritize the safeguarding of lives and property, considering potential opportunistic actions during this period.
As Lagos faces a standstill, questions arise about the duration of the strike and potential avenues for resolution. The deep-seated issues driving this nationwide industrial action underscore the urgent need for meaningful dialogue between the labor unions and the government, the situation remains dynamic, with the people of Lagos grappling with the far-reaching consequences of this impactful strike.