Builders in Nigeria Express Discontent with Planned NLC Strike

Builders in Nigeria have voiced their opposition to the planned strike by the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC). The NLC had issued a 21-day ultimatum to the Federal Government starting on September 1.
NLCSource: Guardian Newspapers

In separate interviews with The PUNCH, the builders expressed their loss of faith in the labor union. Ayotunde Philips, the Treasurer of the Nigerian Institute of Building, noted that many Nigerians no longer believe in the NLC and its industrial actions.

He stated, "People have realized over time that once NLC calls for a strike and their leadership reaches a settlement with the government, they no longer pursue the welfare of the average worker. See what happened during the COVID-19 pandemic. How many workers did NLC support with palliatives, especially the vulnerable ones?"

Philips pointed out that many NLC leaders possess luxury vehicles and own mansions in prestigious cities both in Nigeria and abroad. He concluded by saying that Nigerians have grown disillusioned with the NLC, and this is reflected in the low compliance with the strike.

The NLC had issued the ultimatum to the Federal Government over the poor state of workers' welfare, exacerbated by the removal of fuel subsidies and the floating of the naira. The NLC warned of the possibility of an indefinite shutdown of the economy if the government did not address the prevailing hardships.

However, some builders like Dr. Aliyu Wamakko, President of the Real Estate Developers Association of Nigeria, urged patience and discouraged the idea of going on strike. Wamakko emphasized the need to support the government.

Nathaniel Atebije, President of the Nigerian Institute of Town Planners, emphasized the importance of negotiation over strikes. He suggested that strikes often lead to the loss of productive time and ultimately result in returning to the negotiation table.

Alatise Badmus, an estate surveyor, labeled the strike idea as "clout chasing" and expressed doubts about the seriousness of the NLC in representing the interests of Nigerians.

Toye Eniola, the Executive Secretary of the Association of Housing Corporation of Nigeria, stressed the need for sincerity from both the government and the striking individuals, as people have become indifferent to strikes due to their perceived ineffectiveness.

Overall, the sentiment among builders and professionals in Nigeria appears to be against the planned NLC strike, with many questioning its effectiveness and impact on the average worker's welfare.

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