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Tue, Sep 5, 2023 7:40 PM

Workers in Nigeria Protest Increasing Cost of Living

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Workers in Nigeria Protest Increasing Cost of Living
Workers across various sectors in Nigeria went on strike to protest against the rising cost of living caused by the government's withdrawal of gas subsidies. The two-day warning strike, organized by the Nigerian Labor Congress, aims to improve the welfare state and could potentially cripple Africa's largest economy if their demands are not met. President Bola Tinubu's measures to revive the economy have been met with criticism, as they have intensified hardships for the Nigerian people. The government is urged to address the workers' demands to avoid a complete shutdown of the nation.

ABUYA, Nigeria (AP) -- Workers across all sectors walked off their jobs on Tuesday to protest against the increasing cost of living caused by the government's withdrawal of gas subsidies, threatening to "paralyze" Africa's largest economy unless their demands for improved welfare are met.

The Nigerian Labor Congress initiated a two-day "warning strike," the second in over a month. Last week, the collective convened and denounced President Bola Tinubu's decision to remove gas subsidies, stating it has unleashed "massive suffering among workers and the Nigerian masses."

Last-minute efforts to avert the strike failed Monday night as labor leaders did not attend a meeting called by the Ministry of Labor. The strike, which affects all sectors including healthcare and electricity, is expected to disrupt activities in many offices, further damaging the continent's largest economy already hampered by declining public revenue and oil theft.

Joe Ajaero, the president of the labor congress, stated that in two weeks, there will be a "complete and indefinite shutdown of the nation" unless the government meets the workers' demands, including wage increases.

President Tinubu's attempt to revive the economy has prompted the introduction of some bold measures aimed at saving money, strengthening the local currency (naira), and attracting investors. However, these initiatives have caused hardships for millions in the country, and critics accuse the president of not acting swiftly enough to cushion the impacts of his policies.

Following the removal of long-standing gas subsidies on his first day in office, the price of gasoline more than doubled, triggering a similar surge in other essential commodities. Currency devaluation by the government further escalated prices, including those of food items.

Tinubu's government has taken several measures to alleviate the problems, including a $5.5 million package in the form of loans and aids to the states. However, workers argue that these measures are insufficient and that their salaries remain the same.

Ajaero pointed out that many employees can no longer afford transportation to work and highlighted the "unbearable massive suffering and impoverishment experienced nationwide."

The government, on its part, stated that a strike would worsen the conditions for Nigerians and requested more time to find ways to resolve the dispute. "We cannot do this in an atmosphere devoid of industrial peace," said Labor Minister Simon Lalong.

Source of content: OOO News 2023-09-05 News

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