The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) has vowed to shut down Nigeria if the Governor of Kaduna State, Nasir El-Rufai, proceeds with his plan to sack civil servants in the state.
The workers’ union said it will first embark on a five-day nationwide warning strike and make it indefinite if the relevant authorities do not persuade Mr El-Rufai to drop his plan.
Mr El-Rufai had said the state government cannot sustain the large number of “redundant workers” in the face of a fall in revenue as a result of dwindling federal allocations caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
The Kaduna governor said downsizing the state’s workforce is one of the necessary moves to salvage its finances.
“Therefore, 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 governor was quoted in a statement.
“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.
“It is gross injustice for such a micro minority to consume the majority of the resources of the State,” Mr El-Rufai said.
PREMIUM TIMES reported the reaction of the President of the NLC to Mr El-Rufai’s statement, with the labour leader saying the congress had decided to declare a solidarity strike if the governor carries out the plan.
Mr Wabba, on Thursday, reiterated the position at a news conference in Abuja, after a meeting of the Central Working Committee of the NLC.
According to the News Agency of Nigeria, Mr Wabba said a five-day warning strike will commence soon.
He said all members of the NLC will down tools nationwide for five days in the first instance, after which the workers union will think of the next line of action if nothing is done by relevant government agencies.
Mr Wabba said the union’s planned nationwide strike over Mr El-Rufai’s action is predicated on the assumption that the governor enjoys the support of other states and the federal government.
“CWC has decided and has also recommended to the National Executive Council that labour will withdraw all services from either public or private from all sectors of the economy for five days in the first instance,” he said.
“And where there is no remorse, there is going to be a total action because we believe that El-Rufai is not alone in this action – that neoliberal forces, and also some government are also part of it.
“This action is going to be total and unconditional and therefore, all unions will be issuing statements and directives to their members to take this directive seriously and that the action will go ahead.”
“The action was taken as a last resort due to all the communications that were written on the issue to the Kaduna State Government and were yet to receive any attention.
“Workers should not be allowed to die in silence as thousands of workers who had been sacked were yet to be paid in line with the provisions of the law,” he said.