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Anxiety in Lagos as banks, electricity workers, others join strike

Residents and business owners in Lagos have expressed mixed feelings over the ongoing industrial action embarked upon by the Nigerian Labour Congress and all its affiliated unions.

The strike on Monday took its toll on business activities in Lagos, Nigeria’s economic quarter with some banks closed and many homes thrown into total darkness.

Recall that a meeting Sunday night between organised labour and the leadership of the National Assembly to try to find a middle ground and prevent the proposed nationwide strike by labour, ended in a stalemate, with Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and Trade Union Congress (TUC) insisting they would go ahead with the strike Monday, while negotiations on their demands could continue.

According to the Minister of Information and National Orientation, Mohammed Idris, the federal government has already made an offer of N60,000, and whatever the government does is in the interest of Nigerians.

“Even as we do that, we are pleading with labour. They are partners in this project called ‘Nigeria’ and we expect them to join hands with the federal government as it strives to look for solutions that will take Nigeria to the desired prosperity,” Minister of Information and National Orientation Idris Mohammed, said.

Investigation by BluePrint shows that some banks in Lagos closed their offices to businesses in compliance with the directive issued by the Insurance and Financial Institutions Employees, NUBIFIE calling on members to join the strike.

For instance, the FirstBank office along Airport Road was under lock and keys on Monday morning. Also, the Zenith Bank branch at Ojodu Berger area was also not opened for business on Monday.

A staff of FirstBank who craved anonymity said he got a memo from the office to stay at home pending the resolution of the NLC faceoff with the federal government.

While some Nigerians expressed their support for the strike, others described the N494,000 being demanded by the unions as outrageous and unsustainable with the present economy of the country.

Speaking with Blueprint, Mr. Shina Oludare described the strike as being necessary because the N60,000 being proposed by the federal government team is grossly inadequate.

He said a bag of rice is currently being sold for over N75,000, while the minimum wage is N30,000, “How do you expect any responsible family to survive on that?

“The N60,000 is a far cry from the demands of Nigerians. While the N494,000 is quite outrageous, I expected the federal government to actually move its proposal beyond N60,000 because federal government civil servants are already earning N65,000 as minimum wage.

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