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NLC explains why it shutdown national grid, says it won’t be intimidated

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The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) has provided clarification on the decision to shut down the national grid, dismissing claims by the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN) that labour union members attacked workers at their facilities.

The NLC emphasized that the shutdown was a deliberate action taken as part of the indefinite nationwide strike declared by the labour unions.

In a statement, NLC President Joe Ajaero explained that the union had issued a notice to the Federal Government in May 2024 regarding the non-completion of the National Minimum Wage negotiation exercise and the passage into law, as well as the hike in electricity tariff.

According to Ajaero, the union had demanded the completion of the wage-setting process and a reversal of the hike in electricity tariff back to N66/kWh, but received no positive response from the government.

Ajaero faulted TCN for spreading falsehood, saying: “The Nigeria Labour Congress categorically states that Nigerian workers will not be intimidated by the management of any organisation or government entity over our rightful decision to withdraw services.”

He added: “The spreading of outright falsehood to mislead the public instead of working with other stakeholders to resolve the issues raised by Nigerian workers via the NLC and TUC is not helpful in any way.”

The NLC president denied TCN’s claims of manhandling workers, stating, “One wonders whether TCN’s management needs education on the dynamics of industrial action? It is not true that we manhandled anybody in any TCN location.” Ajaero explained that the withdrawal of services by workers in the electricity sector led to the shutdown of the national grid, emphasizing that “without workers, no wheel can turn; no work can take place anywhere.”

Read also: Tinubu’s aide chides labour for shutting down national grid

Ajaero warned TCN against using military force, saying, “The management of TCN would be held liable for any injury inflicted on any worker by their resort to the use of the powers of the military.” He added, “Deploying military men to its locations is a clear abuse and insult to the military, especially in a democracy.”

The NLC remains committed to the struggle for a fair living wage and reversal of the excessive electricity tariff hike, calling on Nigerians to stand in solidarity with them. Ajaero concluded, “We will not back down, and we will not give in to any blackmail, intimidation, or harassment. We demand the implementation of policies that prioritize the well-being of the people.”

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