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Labour Strike: WASSCE Will Hold – WAEC Declares, Appeals For Understanding

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The West African Examinations Council (WAEC) has assured that the ongoing West African Senior School Certificate Examination (WASSCE) will continue as scheduled, despite the indefinite strike announced by Nigeria’s labour unions.

In an internal memo, WAEC said, “The conduct of WASSCE SC 2024 goes on as scheduled… the Nigerian child should not be put to a disadvantage of missing the exam.”

WAEC’s spokesperson, Motorola Adesina, appealed for understanding, saying, “WAEC can never dictate to the Nigerian labour unions, but this is a passionate appeal for understanding for the sake of the future of the affected Nigerian children.”

According to PREMIUM TIMES, She said the examination is being conducted across four member states of WAEC and that the timetable and schedules are the same across the countries.

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Mrs Adesina said: “WAEC can never dictate to the Nigerian labour unions, but this is a passionate appeal for understanding for the sake of the future of the affected Nigerian children.”

The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and the Trade Union Congress of Nigeria (TUC), however, have insisted that the strike will go on as planned, with the Trade Union Congress president, Festus Osifo, stating, “We cannot sit here and just call off the strike because we need to report to our people… we will take all their pleas to our organs.”

Osifo spoke at the meeting which had in attendance the leadership of the National Assembly, led by the President of the Senate, Godswill Akpabio; some Ministers; and the Head of Service, Folasade Yemi-Esan.

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Responding to the request for Organised Labour to call off the strike, Osifo said it was not in the place of the leaderships of the unions to do so.

He said: “There was an appeal from the Senate president to call off the strike. On our part, we said we cannot sit here and just call off the strike because we need to report to our people.

“We will take all their pleas to our organs. For now, we don’t have the powers to call off the strike.”

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The strike, which begins on June 3, is expected to disrupt activities in schools, hospitals, and airports, and may lead to power outages, fuel scarcity, and transportation disruptions across the country.

The labour unions have been at loggerheads with the Nigerian government over negotiations for a new minimum wage. The current N30,000 minimum wage took effect in 2019, and the union is now negotiating a higher minimum wage with the government.

The NLC initially requested N600,000 but has now settled N494,000. However, the government rejected the amount, saying it is unsustainable and warning it could destabilise the economy and negatively impact over 200 million Nigerians. The government said it is offering N60,000, an amount the labour leaders reject, leading to a deadlock and a declaration of strike by the labour unions.

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