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Varsity strike: Three-day industrial action begins after nationwide protests, says Labour

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The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) is pressing ahead with its nationwide protests in solidarity with university unions to force the Federal Government to meet their demands.

It insisted that the protests would hold in states today as planned.

NLC President, Ayuba Wabba, said the Congress would commence a three-day warning strike immediately after the protest.

According to him, an indefinite workers’ strike may follow should the government fail to resolve the issues that caused the strike.

Wabba spoke on the sidelines of the ongoing 18th NLC Rain School 2022 in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State.

He said: “The protest happening tomorrow (today) is not a solidarity protest but a protest of NLC against government actions that lead to our universities being shut down and our kids staying at home instead of going to school.

“All the unions directly involved in the strike are NLC affiliates and their members are part of NLC.

“We have taken three levels of decision. First is the protest which is going to be nationwide.

“After the protest, a three-day national warning strike will start, and if they fail to resolve the issues and bring back our kids to school, we go on indefinite strike. That is the decision of our National Executive Council.

“What will be helpful for them is to check the timeline we have given for them to resolve the issues.

“We are optimistic that they will be willing this time because we are also willing to get our children back to school.”

Wabba decried the worsening economic conditions.

He said: “I never knew that the exchange rate has moved within a week from N630 to N670. This is very frightening and it erodes the purchasing power of workers.

“There is no way we can continue in this direction and expect that there will be shared prosperity.

“Importantly is the issue of our children that are out of school for five months.

“What is even more worrisome is the fact that they keep posting the graduation of their children in universities outside the country on social media and then the universities where the children of the working class study are closed down.

“I was told today that we have three sets of students that ought to be in the university but unfortunately they have not even sorted out their admission challenges.

“So, it is a very frightening future for Nigerians, particularly the youths.

“The irony of it is that most of the political elites today benefited from free public education. Why is it impossible for them to fix our public education system? Is it about the class divide?

“It honestly beats somebody’s imagination. That is why all of these issues resonate that we need to engage politically. We have also realised the fact that they have used different approaches to divide Nigerians.

“Unfortunately for them, NLC is a pan-Nigerian organisation that cannot be divided.

“Workers should not allow themselves to be divided along ethnic or religious lines. This is just a diversion of interest. Their division tool is happening now.

“Workers should be wiser, citizens should be wiser. We should work assiduously to unite Nigerians and not to divide them.”

State chapters of the NLC have expressed readiness to join the protest.

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