By: Zackline Colley
As reported by Nkechi Ogbonna of the BBC, Nigeria’s two largest labor unions have declared an indefinite strike set to commence next Tuesday, in protest of the government’s response to the rising cost of living.
The National Labour Congress (NLC) and the Trade Union Congress (TUC) have accused the government of failing to alleviate the financial burden on Nigerians, which has been exacerbated by the recent removal of fuel subsidies.
“It will be a complete shutdown until the government addresses the demands of Nigerian workers and, indeed, the Nigerian masses,” the union leaders stated jointly.
They have called upon all workers to halt their activities starting from October 3rd and have announced plans to organize street protests.
In recent months, food and commodity prices have surged due to the rising cost of fuel, which has in turn increased production and transportation costs.
Additionally, Nigeria’s currency, the naira, has significantly depreciated against the US dollar, exchanging at an average rate of 780 naira to $1. This depreciation has further driven up the cost of imports.
The government has appealed to union leaders to suspend the strike and allow room for negotiations, citing the potential harm the strike action could inflict on the economy.
President Bola Tinubu argued that ending the fuel subsidy was essential, as it was economically unsustainable to artificially keep petrol prices low.