ABUJA, Nigeria – The leadership of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and the Trade Union
Congress (TUC) has jointly declared a nationwide strike scheduled to commence next Tuesday,
November 14, 2023. This announcement follows an extraordinary meeting of their National
Executive Council in Abuja, where leaders of both unions reached a unanimous resolution.
The decision to call for a nationwide strike stems from the recent brutalization of NLC National
President, Joe Ajaero, which occurred in Imo State. Ajaero’s assault has sparked widespread
outrage within the Organised Labour community, with many accusing the Commissioner of
Police in Imo State, Mohammed Barde, of being complicit in the attack.
Last Friday, the Organised Labour handed the Federal Government a five-day ultimatum,
demanding the immediate replacement of the police commissioner. Governor Hope Uzodimma,
who is currently seeking re-election, was also implicated in the attack on Ajaero, although he
vehemently denied any involvement in the incident.
In addition to calling for the removal of Commissioner Barde, Organised Labour demanded the
arrest and prosecution of some of the governor’s aides involved in the attack on Joe Ajaero.
Faced with these urgent demands, the labor unions have now officially declared a nationwide
strike as a means of pressing their grievances.
The nationwide mobilization of union members and their allies has already commenced in
earnest, setting the stage for a potentially disruptive industrial action across the country. The
timing of the strike, just days before the scheduled Imo State governorship election on November
11, 2023, adds a layer of political complexity to the situation.
In response to the mounting pressure, the Inspector General of Police, Kayode Egbetokun,
redeployed Commissioner Mohammed Barde on Sunday, citing the need for “neutrality sake”
ahead of the upcoming election. This move aims to address one of the key demands made by
Organised Labour but may not be enough to quell the rising tensions.
As the strike looms on the horizon, the Nigerian government and the Imo State authorities will
have to navigate a delicate situation involving both labor unions and the broader political
context, with potential consequences for the state’s governance and the forthcoming election.
Organised Labour’s decision to escalate their demands to a nationwide strike underscores the
seriousness of their concerns and the urgency they attach to seeing them addressed.
See communique issued after the NEC meeting:
COMMUNIQUE AT THE END OF THE JOINT NATIONAL EXECUTIVE COUNCIL (NEC)
MEETING OF THE NIGERIA LABOUR CONGRESS (NLC) & TRADE UNION CONGRESS OF
NIGERIA (TUC) HELD ON TUESDAY, THE 7TH DAY OF NOVEMBER, 2023
The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and the Trade Union Congress of Nigeria (TUC) joint
National Executive Council (NEC) convened to conduct a comprehensive review of the progress
made in executing its directive to initiate an industrial action in Imo state. This decision was
prompted by a series of infractions and encroachments on the rights of workers within the state.
During the meeting, the council deliberated on the distressing incident involving the abduction
and assault of the NLC President, Comrade Joe Ajaero. Additionally, the council addressed the
appalling acts of violence and bloodshed inflicted upon him and fellow workers, who had
assembled at the NLC Imo State Secretariat in compliance with the directive on Imo state. These
acts were perpetrated by the Imo state Government, acting under the guidance of the Governor
and in collaboration with the Nigeria Police.
The Joint NEC-in-session unanimously condemned in very strong terms the brutal and beastly
actions of Hope Uzodimma, his goons and the Nigeria Police.
To this end, the joint NLC/TUC NEC-in-session observed that whereas:
- the decision to embark on an industrial action in Imo state was purely in keeping with its
earlier resolution; the Imo state Government under Hope Uzodimma heartlessly continues in its
abuse of the rights and privileges of workers in the state viz;
- Refusal to Implement Previous Agreements: The Government has repeatedly reneged on
agreements, most notably the accord reached on January 9th, 2021, between the Government and
- Outstanding Salary Arrears: Shockingly, some workers have been subjected to a staggering 20
months of unpaid salaries under the unfounded label of ‘ghost workers’.
- Unjust Declaration of Workers as Ghost Workers: Approximately 11,000 hardworking
individuals have been unjustly branded as ghost workers, their salaries diverted even while they
diligently carried out their duties.
- Vandalisation of NLC State Secretariat: The wanton destruction of the NLC State Secretariat is
a blatant attack on the rights of workers and a violation of the sanctity of their representative
- Implementation of Discriminatory Pay: The introduction of discriminatory pay practices and
the imposition of apartheid-like policies in determining monthly payments is an affront to fair
- Unsettled Gratuity Arrears: The Government has failed to address the 8-year backlog of
gratuity owed to retirees, showing a grave disregard for the rights of those who have dedicated
their careers in service.
- Non-compliance with National Minimum Wage: The Government has persistently shirked its
duty to properly implement the N30,000 National Minimum Wage, a critical safeguard for the
economic well-being of workers.
- Intimidation and Harassment of Trade Union Leaders: The Government’s witch hunt against
trade union leaders through various guises constitutes an alarming assault on the right to
represent and advocate for the rights of workers.
- Use of Violence and Thuggery: The continued deployment of thugs and violence against
workers and their leaders is an unacceptable practice that undermines the democratic rights of
- Misappropriation of Union Dues: The impoundment and illegal diversion of union dues, funds
rightfully belonging to the unions, is a gross violation of the rights of workers to manage their
- Declaration of Pensioners as Ghosts: Approximately 10,000 pensioners have been wrongly
labeled as ghost pensioners, resulting in over 22 months of unpaid pensions, tragically leading to
the loss of lives.
- Systematic Harassment and Intimidation of Workforce: The entire workforce is constantly
subjected to threats of violence and sack, creating an environment of fear and uncertainty.
- Resistance to Social Dialogue and Collective Bargaining: The Government’s persistent
resistance to the use of the instruments of social dialogue and collective bargaining is an affront
to the principles of fair labor practices.
- Interference with Workers’ Democratic Processes: The violent interference and disruption of
the Imo State Delegates’ Conference demonstrates a blatant attempt to impose favored
candidates on the workers, undermining their democratic rights.
- workers had gathered to peacefully protest these infractions by the Governor at the Secretariat
of the NLC in Imo state as guaranteed by our extant labour laws and the Constitution;
- the Police supported a group of Imo state Governor’s thugs led by its SA on Special Duties
invaded the premises of the Imo NLC Secretariat and unleashed mayhem on the few workers
who had gathered inflicting injuries and stealing and damaging personal effects including various
- the President of the NLC was subsequently subjected to brutalization, blindfolded and
abducted by the Police and taken to an unknown destination where he was further subjected to
further violations and humiliation;
- the NLC and TUC have made demands on the Government which have not been met as at the
time of this session;
- the continued prevalence of the use of violence and impunity in negotiating rights and interests
within the nation’s socioeconomic space against all known dictates of democracy and Social
Consequently, the NLC/TUC NEC-in-Session resolved as follows:
- To order the immediate withdrawal of services and shutdown of Imo state beginning midnight
today. All workers and affiliates are expected to ensure compliance from wherever they are. All
flights into and out of Imo state, fuel supplies and Electricity be stopped immediately as
applicable. All Public and Private Sector workers are to immediately down tools indefinitely.
- That if our demands are still unmet, workers all over the federation shall join in withdrawing
their services by Midnight Tuesday, the 14th of November, 2023
- All State Councils of NLC & TUC and affiliates are by this resolution mandated to ensure full
compliance with NEC’s decision
Comrade Adewale Adeyanju (Deputy President NLC)
Comrade Festus Osifo (President TUC)