Why we shut down national grid – Labour

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The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) has defended its decision to shut down the national grid as part of the ongoing nationwide indefinite strike over the new minimum wage.

On Friday, the NLC and the Trade Union Congress (TUC) declared an indefinite strike over the federal government’s refusal to increase the minimum wage.

The strike commenced on Monday with total compliance by all government institutions across the country.


As a result, the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN) said the labour union shut down the national grid at about 2:19 am, resulting in a blackout across the country.

Ndidi Mbah, TCN’s general manager, said workers at the Benin Transmission Operator were sent away from the control room and beaten by the protesters.

In a statement issued on the shutting down of the national grid, Joe Ajaero, president of the NLC, said the federal government has abused workers’ restraint.

“It is important that we address the press statement by the Transmission Company of Nigeria where they made false claims regarding the indefinite nationwide strike declared by the Nigeria Labour Congress and Trade Union Congress,” the statement reads.

“The Transmission Company of Nigeria should understand that the company is not the only one impacted by the massive withdrawal of service across the nation by Nigerian workers.

“It should therefore not make it a TCN affair, as other organisations also suffer from one breakdown in service or the other as a result of the nationwide industrial action.

“The management of TCN ought to have realised that the NLC and TUC issued a notice to the Federal Government since the beginning of May 2024 on the issues of non-completion of the National Minimum Wage negotiation exercise and passage into law and the vexatious hike in electricity tariff.

“We had demanded the completion of the wage-setting process and a reversal of the hike in the electricity tariff back to N66/kWh without any positive response from the government.

“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.

“Maybe TCN, in its effort to scuttle the strike, tried to force workers to be at work, not realising the resolve of all workers to stay away. Why would the grid not go down when the workers who operate them decide to withdraw their service? That is how it works, and it further demonstrates that without workers, no wheel can turn and no work can take place anywhere.

“Nigerian workers, led by the NLC and TUC, have exercised due caution and unusual patience in our engagement with our social partners, and this restraint has been grossly abused, unfortunately, which has led us to the present impasse.

“Trying to buck-pass instead of accepting blame and taking the necessary steps to put its house in order will not allow the Transmission Company of Nigeria to make discernible progress.

“We would like the organisation to take adequate measures to ensure that it discharges its responsibilities to Nigerians, especially in the electricity sector, instead of dissipating its energy on trying to insult Nigerian workers by its deliberate peddling of falsehood.

“We have been duly informed that the TCN management has resorted to the use of the military in its effort to intimidate and harass workers in its employ who are carrying out their lawful and democratic duties at various TCN plants around Nigeria.”

Ajaero said the management of TCN would be held liable for any injury inflicted on any worker by its resort to the use of the powers of the military.

“It is also important that we inform TCN that deploying military men to its locations is a clear abuse and insult to the military, especially in a democracy,” the NLC president said.

“We are sure that members of the military so misused by this deployment are not happy with the management and the authorities who have authorised the deployment.

“The NLC and TUC remain steadfast in their commitment to the emancipation of downtrodden Nigerians and will persist in the struggle for a fair and just living wage, as well as the reversal of the excessive electricity tariff hike.

“We call on all Nigerians to stand in solidarity with us as we demand the implementation of policies that prioritize the well-being of the people. We will not back down, and we will not give in to any blackmail, intimidation, or harassment.”