Labour set to compound Nigeria’s woes with strike


Action starts Sept 28 over hikes in fuel, electricity tariffs

By Ukpono Ukpong

Nigerians face another round of hardship as the National Executive Council of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) has ratified the decision of its Central Working Committee (CWC) to stage a nationwide protest on September 28 to compel the Federal Government to reverse the hikes in the price of petrol pump price and electricity tariff.

At a press briefing in Abuja, the NLC’s president, Ayuba Wabba, said given the Federal Government’s failure to reverse price hike, workers have no other choice but to go ahead with the protest.

NEC which condemned the timing of the increment also advised the Federal Government to revamp the nation’s refineries.

The NLC had threatened to shut down the economy if the federal government refused to reverse the recent hike in petrol price and electricity tariff within 14 days.

Power distribution companies had hiked their tariffs from about N30.23 to about N62.33 per kWh for Nigerians after the federal government said it would no longer subsidise electricity consumption.

Also, the price of petrol increased from about N145 to about N161 per litre.

The Trade Union Congress (TUC) and civil society organisations (CSOs) had also pledged to join the NLC protest.

In an effort to resolve the issues, President Muhammadu Buhari had directed the Minister of Labour and Employment to hold a meeting with unions and the CSOs, although according to the organized labour, thetalks failed to meet the demands of the congress.

In a similar development, the president of TUC said that the nationwide strike and protest scheduled to commence midnight of September 22 has been shifted to September 28 for effective and maximum effect.

“After an exhaustive meeting held to review its mobilization strategies on the forthcoming strike to protest fuel hike and electricity tariff, TUC has resolved that the Congress is going to work in collaboration with its sister Labour Centre, the Nigeria Labour Congress and the civil society allies to execute the strike.

“We want to use this opportunity to call on Nigerians, especially those in the informal sector to bear with us while the industrial action lasts.

“There is no need for the pains we bear. It is a needless one.

They ask us to tighten our belts while they loosen theirs. Services are not rendered yet we are compelled to pay estimated bills.

You will recall that this government during its electioneering campaigns in 2014 told the world there is nothing like subsidy.

We were told that they will build refineries. That is history now.

We run a mono economy and any hike in fuel automatically will have adverse effects on us yet successive governments toe that path because they are not creative.

READ ALSO: Labour, FG hold decisive talks over petrol, electricity tariffs hikes

“As at today, about eight states are yet to commence the payment of new minimum wage and its consequential adjustment even though the president signed it into law on April 18, 2019.

We have written letters to the governors and also engaged them in dialogue but all to no avail. Sometimes we wonder if these people have conscience at all.

“The Congress hereby appeals to all Nigerians to get ready for the unprecedented mass action against corruption, obnoxious policies, rape and other violent offences, breach of Collective Agreement, unemployment, etc.

We also call on the USA, UK, Germany, Spain, etc. to support our struggle by placing indefinite VISA ban on our political leaders whose stock in trade is to loot and impoverish the masses and the country.

We can no longer take it. Enough is Enough!”

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