Federal Workers Forum (FWF) have said they are ready to proceed on indefinite strike and total shutdown of the nation’s economy over the removal of fuel subsidy.
The Forum disclosed this through a statement issued by its National Coordinator, Former Oyo State TUC Chairman, Comrade Andrew Emelieze.
Emelieze lamented that since the removal of the fuel subsidy nothing has been done to alleviate the suffering of Nigerian workers.
He said,”It is disheartening to note that despite the promises by the federal government to see to the plights of workers as a result of the fuel subsidy removal, nothing has been done to assist the Nigerian workers adjust to the high cost of living crisis momentarily faced.
“It is also surprising to note that despite the agreement between the federal government and the Trade Union Congress of Nigeria (TUC) to adjust workers wage within two weeks and the two weeks have expired but nothing forthcoming.
“It is equally unbelievable to note that after the industrial actions of a national protest, a two day national warning strike and the threats of an indefinite national strike action by the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC); the federal government of Nigeria is not showing any sign that she is ready to listen to the cries of the working class.
“The federal government workers are among the most badly hit groups in the society since the removal of fuel subsidy. It has been the stories of pains and mass sufferings among the workers. Salaries has remained static while everyother social economic indices have adjusted to the increasing high cost of living but federal government workers salaries have remained the same.
“Workers have been patient enough and our livelihood and families have been adversely affected . Most workers have gone borrowing from very exploitative microfinance banks with killing interest rates.
“Federal government workers are the engine room of governance, we donot expect to be treated this way. Our employer, the federal government of Nigeria is not being fair on us, we should not be treated like slaves in our country. Workers should be made to count. If all we hear is promises upon promises, four months into the fuel subsidy removal then we might have to wait forever except we cry out louder enough inorder to be heard.
“To this end, we are writing the NLC/TUC that federal government workers nationwide are ready for the indefinite strike action and that the NLC should not hesitate to call for the strike action should government fails to do the needful as our earlier ultimatum expires.”
The FWF National Coordinator added,”We had taken part in the last two days warning strike and we shall do it again if government continues to fail us. We thank all federal government workers across the federation for the compliance with the last strike action and we call for preparations for the next one.
“We call on the TUC to rethink her strategy and do the workers bidding. All efforts must be made to ensure synergy among our labour centers. The obvious divergent views over methodology by the NLC and the TUC is not in the interest of the toiling workers. None of the the labour centers should be allowed to be used as a clog in the wheel of progress.
“The general consensus among workers is that the TUC has been compromised. It is now left to the TUC to prove otherwise as we all prepare for the indefinite strike action.”
He also called on the NLC/TUC to make the strike action the mother of all strikes, warning that the Nigerian workers and indeed Nigerians must not be betrayed by labour.
“Our people have suffered enough.
“What is happening to the federal government workers now is oppression and injustice. The federal government is owing her workers lots of arrears of salaries and allowances in tens of billions of naira over the years, despite repeated plea , nothing has been paid. We have been terrorised enough, our government should not show us wickedness.
“Our existence has been hellish and everything is nauseating. The mental health of workers are badly affected. Government must act now. Four months into the fuel subsidy removal , workers have been stretched to the limits, we have been pushed to the wall, we cannot cope again.
“Our demand is simply, a fair wage.Our government must stop acting as if they dont have conscience. Government should stop playing games with the lives of the people. The Nigerian worker are no slaves,we are not beggers, we are public sector workers,we are citizens and we deserve to be treated fairly as a matter of rights.
“Enough of the hide and seek game over the welfare of the federal workers. The present wage is shamefully too poor and it is not taking us home , this should be an embarrassment to the federal government of Nigeria. The FG should weigh the implications of workers poor wage for overall effectiveness of productivity and the society at large.
“Once again, federal government workers are ready for the indefinite strike action and we are looking onto the NLC/TUC to rescue the Nigerian people from this untold hardship. However, if the NLC tarry further, the Federal Workers Forum will not hesitate to call all our members nationwide to perpetual protest.
“The vices you tolerate today will consume you tomorrow,” he stressed.