THE ROD CALLED STRIKE: THE ONLY INSTRUMENT THE GOVERNMENT OBEYS

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By Kunle Sotibi and Gloria Ojugbeli

There was a father whose children complained bitterly of him being irresponsible. So, in a bid to register their disappointment, they refused to answer his call: they stop rendering services for him. They initiated a slogan “No Pay, No Work” so as to get their demand from him. And this they did anytime their father failed them.

The above illustration can be likened to Nigerian government who fail to do the needful for its workers and thus they embark on strike to show their disappointment and discomfort, since that seems the only language government hears.

However, in life, there are other ways of solving problems without resulting to the usual way. If one keeps solving one’s problem with the same method, it will get to a stage where it will be too monotonous and block creativity. But why then, in Nigeria, workers kill creativity and embrace only one method of solving a problem?

Labour Union is an association of workers that is geared towards protecting the members’ interest. Conflict is disagreement between parties while collective bargaining is a situation in the face of conflict whereby the employer and labour union come together to negotiate and settle issues concerning the welfare of workers. However, there are three measures union used in bargaining: strike actions, picketing and secondary boycott.
But unfortunately, the strike action is the most used measures by the Labour Union. Maybe they used that for it works for them.

However, let us look briefly into others, picketing and secondary boycott. Picketing is when the union desire to keep plan completely closed down while secondary boycut takes place when a union which is seeking a concession from employer A places pressure on employer B to influence employer A to grant concession. The union making use of the measure that works for them is not an issue but it becomes one when it is easily predictable.

Strike has became a rod which flogs the government, it has became the only instrument the government understand. Recently, the Nigeria Labour Congress threatened the Federal government with strike for their demand of increment in minimum wage, the government had to react fast to their demand (even though they are still on it) because they knew the intending strike will shutdown the country’s economy.

Since the year 2009, government have been promising the Academic Staff Union of University some certain things but which have not been fruitful and have made them embark on another strike. Thus, brings another negotiations from the government.

The question is, must workers embark on strike action before government have listening ears?

Strike action in developed countries is the last option. But here in Nigeria it has become an effective option. In fact, here, doctors and nurses who are the soulsof society embark on strike and thus lead many lives to premature and avoidable death.

It is high time the government realise that many innocent citizens are always victims of any strike actions, it might not affect them and their relative but it does for an average Nigerian: commoners. What is the fate of a poor man whose child fall sick only to get to the hospital and find it empty for strike? What is the fate of Nigerian students during a very long time strike? The rod, strike does not only hit the government but also the citizens.

It is a big wound in the heart of everyone who has fallen victim of strike action at one point or the other. Imagine when doctors go on strike and many lives terminated prematurely! When patient dies out of the shock that doctors are (embarking) on strike!

How about the Academic line, it is rightly said that doctors’ mistake are in the mortuary. But where are academic mistakes? It is right there on the street spreading like fire during harmattan. When school is on strike at first, students don’t bother. But when it turns two weeks, everything becomes boredom: reading, so social media takes over. Though some students work and make money during this period, but everything boils down to opportunity cost which is suspension of academic work. If strike action persist for a long time some students dream change and fade.

Let us even imagine the effect it has on the economy, especially on campus: those traders on campus have their purse on a standstill , their economy becomes stagnant until students resume. Some students even lose their lives out of rushing to go home due to strike, some students out of boredom and quest for love get into injurious mistake of unwanted pregnancy. While some others too join the hustle to make money either in evil or in good.

It is normal that brain forgets when there is no constant practice. As a student, the brain is meant to be refreshed every time. But what do we get in this part of the world? Students becomes the grass that suffers in the fight of the two lions.

The government should learn from the developed world how they tackle problems without resulting to worse methods which will affect their people. Let us be creative. Let us used picketing and secondary boycott too as a measure of bargaining, not necessarily strike action.

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