The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and the Trade Union Congress (TUC) in Imo State have declared an indefinite strike over attacks by suspected political thugs on their members during the 2023 May Day celebration in the state on Monday.

In a communique jointly issued on Monday by the NLC National General Secretary, Emmanuel Ugboaja and his TUC counterpart, Nuhu Toro, the labour unions alleged that agents of the Imo State Government carried out the attack against the workers in the state.

In a video clip posted, Tuesday, on the verified Facebook page of the NLC Headquarters in Abuja, several chairs, canopies and other materials, apparently brought for the workers’ celebration, were scattered.

Some young men believed to be the officials of the union, were seen standing by, discussing the incident.

“This is at the Imo State Workers’ Day (Celebration). The governor’s boys came and spoilt all my sound systems, (and) speakers, alongside the fuse that I was charging at the venue. They made away with my laptop,” a voice, believed to be that of a disc jockey, contracted to play music at the event, was heard in the background of the video.

“This is so disgusting. This is very bad. I can’t believe what my eyes are seeing. They chased everybody away. Spoilt all the canopies. Spoilt the chairs,” the voice added.

The labour unions said after careful deliberation during their emergency joint Central Working Committee (CWC) meeting, they concluded that the state government has “grossly violated the rules of engagement amongst the social partners in industrial relations in the country by using thugs to violently disrupt” the workers day celebration in the state.

They claimed that properties were vandalised and looted by the invading thugs of the government and that some workers in the state sustained various injuries as a result of the attack.

They also accused the government of being “a serial abuser of workers’ rights and privileges committing several infractions in the process” and therefore made “sane and civil social dialogue difficult in the state.”

“Consequently, the joint CWC resolved to withdraw the guarantee of industrial peace in Imo State; to embark on a comprehensive shutdown of Imo State beginning from Wednesday the 3rd of May 2023,” the labour unions said in the communique.

They resolved that all their affiliates in the state must withdraw their services beginning from Tuesday midnight until the government restores and guarantees the protection of the lives and properties of workers in the state.

The groups vowed to monitor the compliance of their members to the declared industrial action, just as they threatened to “escalate it nationwide if positive results” were not achieved within days.

“We hold the Governor of Imo State, Hope Uzodinma responsible for any further harm done to any worker in the state now or during the industrial action.

“TUC and NLC will do whatever it takes to protect the lives and properties of workers. We, therefore, advise all residents of Imo State to stock up on necessities because we are prepared for a marathon struggle,” they added.

Oguwike Nwachukwu, the spokesperson to Governor Uzodinma, did not respond to calls and a text message seeking his comments.




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