Labour strike: Nationwide blackout as TCN shuts down national grid 

Workers of the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN) have shut down the national grid as the Nigerian Labour Congress strike action kicks off on Monday. 

The shutdown has thrown the entire nation into darkness forcing many businesses and individuals to resort to generators.

The Labour Union is embarking on a strike over the failure of the federal government’s tripartite committee to accept their demands on the new minimum wage.  

Checks on the TCN’s load allocation platform to electricity distribution companies (Discos) reveal that load allocation to all eleven discos was 0 megawatts. Nigerians had reported a blackout around midnight last night. 

The Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN) in a statement noted that the grid shutdown was carried out by the members of the NLC.  

Its Corporate Affairs Manager, Ndudi Mbah noted that the forced shutdown in its Benin station where workers were driven out of office resulted in a national grid collapse affecting other substations resulted in the collapse of the national grid.  

It stated, The Transmission Company of Nigeria hereby informs the general public that the Labour Union has shut down the national grid, resulting in a blackout nationwide. The national grid shutdown occurred at about 2:19 am this morning, 3rd June 2024. 

“At about 1:15 am this morning, the Benin Transmission Operator under the Independent System Operations unit of TCN reported that all operators were driven away from the control room and that staff that resisted were beaten while some were wounded in the course of forcing them out of the control room and without any form of control or supervision, the Benin Area Control Center was brought to zero.” 

Furthermore, the TCN noted that efforts to restore power to the national grid are already underway.   

Minimum wage negotiation  

Initially, the NLC and TUC proposed a new wage of N615,000 to the federal government. However, after extensive negotiations, the union agreed to a sum of N495,000. 

In contrast, the government insisted on a payment of N60,000, arguing that the union’s proposed amount was unsustainable. 

Additionally, the organized private sector, which was part of the tripartite committee on minimum wage, accepted the government’s proposed sum. As a result, the NLC declared a nationwide strike starting Monday, with no specified end date. 

NASS attempt to avert strike action 

Following the NLC and TUC’s announcement, the National Assembly, comprising both the Senate and the House, held a last-minute meeting with union leaders to appeal against the proposed strike. 

Senate President Godswill Akpabio informed journalists in Abuja that the National Assembly’s efforts to persuade the labour unions to suspend the strike had failed. 

TUC President Festus Usifo, who briefed journalists after the four-hour meeting, confirmed that the Senate President had appealed to the unions to suspend the planned strike. 

Impact of the National Grid Shutdown 

The shutdown of the national grid by the workers union in the electricity sector National Union of Electricity Employees (NUEE) could cripple the economy especially industries dependent on power supply for the electricity distribution companies. 

Other NLC affiliates, including the Nigeria Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG), Maritime Workers Union of Nigeria (MWUN), and National Union of Banks, Insurance, and Financial Institutions Employees (NUBIFIE), among other key sector unions, instructed their members to ensure full compliance.  


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