Construction workers in Nigeria down tools
Construction works in Nigeria have come to a halt following an indefinite strike by workers in the construction sector allied to the National Union of Civil Engineering, Construction Furniture and Wood Workers, NUCECFWW.
The workers have staged a protest against alleged refusal of employer’s body under the umbrella of Federation of Construction Industry (FOCI) to abide by the rules of engagement outlined in the National Joint Industrial Council, NJIC.
The workers argued that at the expiry of the 2013 agreement where employers awarded a 39% salary increment across board to workers, FOCI had asked the union to send their proposals for negotiation based on NIJC in a letter dated in a letter dated September, 2015. In November 2015 the workers demanded a 100% salary increment.
Negotiations broke down in February prompting the union to issue a 10-day ultimatum to FOCI to accept and implement the new demands.
The ultimatum expired without any positive response from FOCI prompting the union to direct its members to down tools and begin the indefinite strike
“They reduced the work force. Now a few do the work of many, yet the employers have refused to review salaries. However, they have expatriates, each earning the salary of 10 Nigerians.
Since they have refused to come to the negotiation table, we have gone on strike. 350 branches nationwide, representing 99%, have complied.” said the President-General of NUCECFWW, Amechi Asugwuni.
A manager in one of the companies who talked on condition of anonymity blamed the Federal Government and tiers of government for the near collapse of the industry saying the government had failed to clear over N600 billion owed to construction firms, making it hard for the construction companies to meet contractual obligations to workers.