Nigeria plunged into darkness as union workers shut down national grid in minimum wage protest

NIGERIA: A nationwide strike in Nigeria brought air travel to a standstill and plunged the country into darkness on Monday as union workers stormed the national grid and shut down the nation’s power supply, according to the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN).

Tens of millions are without power and flights have been disrupted, as the Nigerian Labor Congress (NLC) and the Trade Union Congress (TUC) initiated an indefinite strike.

Operators from TCN were beaten and injured while they were forcibly removed from control rooms, the company said. Cane-swinging union workers were also seen in photos circulating on social media Monday ordering personnel of the country’s tax agency out of their offices.

This strike comes after failed negotiations with the government to raise the federal minimum wage. The unions are also protesting a recent hike in electricity tariffs.

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The unions’ demands include raising the minimum wage from 30,000 naira ($22.4) to 494,000 naira ($369.6). Presidential aide Bayo Onanuga dismissed these demands as “unreasonable,” in a post on the social media platform X.

The government had proposed a 100% increase to 60,000 naira ($44.89), which the unions rejected, seeking a 1,547% increase instead, Onanuga added.

Despite being Africa’s fourth-largest economy, Nigeria’s minimum wage is not among the continent’s top ten, lagging far behind countries like Seychelles, where workers receive a minimum wage of $465.4 monthly.

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