Osun plunged into darkness as NLC, TUC strike over minimum wage

Residents of Osun State were thrown into total blackout as a result of the strike action embarked upon by the leadership of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and the Trade Union Congress (TUC) over a disagreement with the federal government on workers’ new minimum wage.

The IBDC in the state that joined the strike action put off all electricity supplies to all sectors at midnight on Monday, immediately after the meeting between the federal government and the labour unions became deadlocked.

Activities were grounded to a halt in the state as all federal and state government parastals were seen deserted by workers who remained in their respective abodes, while all public schools, government secretariats, and financial institutions like banks were equally under lock and key in compliance with the directives of the Labour leaders.

The lack of electricity supply by the IBDC has, however, forced many residents, especially those selling fish, to opt for buying petroleum products to fuel their generating plants in order to prevent their goods from being defrosted and rejected by their customers.

Some of those who did not have generators were seen putting their items out of their fridges and freezers to prevent them from spoiling.

The strike action did not exempt workers of the Transmission Company of Nigeria, TCN, in Osogbo who were locked outside the gate, and resulted in group discussions on the development.

At Fakunle Osogbo, Gbongan-IIbadan Road, where we have large numbers of banks situated, customers were denied entry and stranded as only security men attached to the banks were seen on the ground while their ATM machines were not equally loaded with money.

The situation has forced many POS operators in the state to jerk up withdrawal fees for their respective customers.

Investigations conducted around the state secretariat and the state assembly in Abere revealed that state workers shunned their duty posts, but some senior civil servants were rendering skeletal services to political officeholders who were in their offices.

However, in public schools, teachers did not show up in both secondary and primary schools, while workers at the state polytechnics and colleges of education also reported having shunned their duty posts in compliance with the strike action directive.

A few secondary school students who went to school later returned to their parents when they could not see their tutors on the ground.

As a result of these developments, residents were in great lamentation and called on the federal government to speedily hearken to the pleas of the labour leaders by jerking up the workers minimum wage, saying the workers were demanding their rights and should not be treated with levity.

A middle-aged worker in the state civil service who identified himself as Mr. Adewale and spoke with our reporter stated that the present administration under the leadership of President Ahmed Bola Tinubu is a disappointment as it does not have human feelings.

He described the administration as wicked, callous, and inhuman and charged the labour leaders not to relent in their efforts to ensure that their expected demands are met at the end of the day.

In an interview with a worker of the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN), who identified himself as Engr. Tijjani Mustafa, he said that workers have been withdrawn from the duty post till the government complies with the demands.

Also, another worker of TCN met at the entrance to the premises. Mr. Musibau Okunloye, Chairman, Lagos Generation and Transmission Council, urged the Federal Government to reverse the recent hike in electricity tariffs and do more to cater for the well-being of workers in the country.

He said, “Well, my appeal to the federal government is just the same as what the Nigeria Labour Congress and TUC have said. They should listen to Labour. Labour is forced to be reckoned with.

“But in Nigeria today, we are seeing labour being treated badly. So they should consider labour first in any policy that they want to come up with. Because this thing will cascade down the economy.

“This enforcement here, as members are outside the premises, will continue. We have withdrawn our services. As long as they are not ready to listen to our demands, we won’t return to work.

At the Ladike Akintola University Teaching Hospital Complex (LAUTEC) and the state general hospital, Osogbo, patients were shut out by security men manning their gates.

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