Workers begin five-day strike in Kaduna

Workers begin a five-day strike in Kaduna on Monday the 17th of May, 2021. The governor of Kaduna state has expressed that he will not be blackmailed.

The Kaduna State governor, Nasir El-Rufai, and the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) are in battle after the latter presented a notice for a five-day strike by workers in the state.

The warning strike begun by workers at midnight today is in protest against the mass disengagement of workers and other alleged anti-labor policies of the state government.

The state government has stated that it would not be blackmailed or intimidated by the threat of a workers’ strike. El Rufai insists that the strike action of workers was a decision taken in the interest of the larger population in the state.

The workers making the decision to embark on a strike was based on a threat earlier issued by the NLC that its members in the state would stop work in protest against El-Rufai’s moves against the state’s workers.

Currently, Aviation workers under the aegis of the National Union of Air Transport Employees (NUATE), Association of Nigeria Aviation Professionals (ANAP), and National Association of Aircraft Pilots and Engineers (NAAPE) have instructed their members to stop operations at Kaduna airport with effect from early on Sunday morning, 16th of May, 2021 in accordance with the strike declared by the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) against the state government.

The workers pledged to comply with the instruction from the NLC to stop work in the state from May 16th -21st, 2021. Their agreement was based on two different letters jointly signed by the union’s leaders, namely Ocheme Aba, General Secretary, NUATE; Abdulrasak Saidu, Secretary General, ANAP and Ofonime Umoh, Deputy General Secretary, NAAPE.

The union leaders further added that workers at the airport have been instructed to withdraw all services within the stipulated period.

“In effect, there will be no operations of any kind into, at, or out of the airport within the period.

“This information is provided to enable your management take steps to safeguard valuable property within the airport vicinity during the period of the industrial action.

“This action shall be fully carried out unless otherwise directed by the NLC. And all workers are enjoined to fully comply as no form of sabotage shall be tolerated,” the unions said.

A circular earlier signed by the General Secretary of NUEE, Joe Ajaero, said: “In line with NLC directives on the shutdown of activities in Kaduna, you are hereby directed to ensure TOTAL BLACK OUT in Kaduna by 00 hours on Saturday 15th May 2021.”

In addition, the secretary-general also advised the workers to communicate with other states or regions through which Kaduna could be back-fed to ensure that the state is not supplied with electricity.

Ajaero in his statement also gave a warning, “any station or officer whose unit is found wanting, the chapter or state council will be sanctioned for anti-union activities.”

Other unions, including railway workers, local government employees, and university workers will not resume their duty posts today, Monday, the 17th of May, 2021.

We recall that in April, the state governor, Nasir El-Rufai, had announced the plan to not involve civil servants in the state for financial reasons, saying that a huge portion of the statutory federal allocations coming to the state was being spent on the wages of public servants.

“The state government has no choice but to shed some weight and reduce the size of the public service. It is a painful but necessary step to take for the sake of the majority of the people of this state,” the statement read in part.

The governor argued that “the public service of the state with less than 100,000 employees and their families cannot be consuming more than 90% of government resources, with little left to positively impact the lives of the more than 9 million that are not political appointees or civil servants.”

In the state government’s response to the notice of strike served by workers yesterday, the state government said it would not give in to blackmail.

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