All construction activities in Nigeria have been placed on hold following an indefinite strike by workers in the sector, over the failure of the union and their employers to implement the agreements signed by the two parties some months ago.
The workers, under the auspices of the National Union of Civil Engineering, Construction Furniture and Wood Workers, (NUCECFWW), are protesting the alleged refusal of employers’ body on the aegis of Federation of Construction Industry (FOCI), to abide by the rules of engagement as contained in National Joint Industrial Council (NJIC).
Speaking at a briefing, the National President, Comrade Amechi Asugwuni, criticised the employers of FOCI.
It was gathered that at the expiration of the 2013 agreement where the employers conceded a 39 percent salary increment across board to workers, FOCI had in a letter dated September 1, 2015, asked the union to submit proposal for negotiation based on NIJC.
“The document was due for review last year, when the FOCI, in letter signed by its Director General, Olubunmi Adekoya which dated September 1, 2010 with reference number: FED/NUCECFWW/2015/OA/SAO, had requested the construction employees through their union to submit proposal for the review of the document,” he said.
The letter, made available to reporters, read in part: “As you are aware, the current NJIC Agreement is due to expire soon. We hereby request that you submit your proposal for 2015 Negotiation so that we can plan accordingly.”
In November 2015, the workers demanded for a 100 percent increase in salaries.
After several negotiations, both parties could not agree and there was total breakdown in February, forcing the union to issue a 10-day ultimatum to FOCI to accept and implement the new demand.
“Their recalcitrant actions have prompted this strike and unless they are ready to go back to the negotiation table, the strike continues. It is either NJIC or nothing. This, we are saying, is sacrosanct.”
“Embarking on this nationwide strike did not just happen, it is as a result of failure on the part of our employers to sustain dialogue which is the most required and viable option for every Negotiation.
“Various meetings were initiated by this union but they had never got the time to sit with us and dialogue with us, even as they are the one expected to initiative such meetings for dialogue. It appears they have something to achieve from doing this but for us, no going back on the decision until they are ready to come to terms,” Asugwuni said.
According to recent report, the strike has already paralysed construction works across the country worsening the deplorable road networks.