The Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC has reached a decision to go on strike to protest the recent increase in electricity and fuel tariffs.
This was just asTrade Union Congress, TUC, extended its seven days strike notice to September 28 to tally with NLC’s deadline.
The plan was finalised yesterday as the highest decision making organ of NLC’s the National Executive Council, NEC, ratified the descision of the Central Working Committee, CWC.
The congress also directed state councils to strengthen mobilization of workers and other Nigerians preparatory for the strike scheduled to start on September 28.
At a meeting held at Labour House Abuja, NEC ordered the 36 NLC state councils and the Federal Capital Territory, FCT, to intensify mobilization of workers and other Nigerians, faulting the timing of the increments.
Recall that the NLC ‘s CWC had last Wednesday, threatened to shut down the economy if the federal government refused to reverse its decision before September 28.
Speaking after the NEC’s meeting, President of NLC, Ayuba Wabba, advised the federal government to, in the interest of industrial peace and social order, listen to the cries of workers and other suffering Nigerians and rescind the increases, warning that failure to meet the demands would make the planned strike and mass protest inevitable.
He said: “The National Executive Council of the Nigeria Labour Congress, comprising members of the National Administrative Council, President and General Secretary of members of the affiliate unions and our state council chairpersons and secretaries of the 36 states and FCT met today (yesterday) and resolved as follows:
‘’”NEC resolved to reject in its entirety the issue of hike in electricity tariffs by almost 100 percent as well as the fuel price increase in the name of full deregulation.
‘’This decision is premised on the fact that this twin decision, alongside other decisions of government, including the increase of VAT by 7.5 per cent, numerous charges being charged by commercial banks on depositors’ funds without any explanations, will further impoverish Nigerian workers, citizens and their families.
“Therefore, this increase, coming in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, is not only ill-timed but also counterproductive. NEC also observed that the privatization of the electricity sub-sector seven years down the line has not yielded any positive result.
“Whereas in the entire privatization process, the entire sector was sold at about N400 billion, we are also surprised that government within the last four years injected N1.5 trillion over and above the amount that accrued from this important asset.
“Therefore, NEC came to the conclusion that the entire privatization process has failed and the electricity hike is actually a process of continuous exploitation of Nigerians.
“ On the issue of the refineries and also the increase in the pump price of PMS, this particular issue had been on the table for more than three decades and the argument has not changed.
“Whether it is the name of full deregulation or subsidy removal, what is obvious is that it is fuel price hike and this has further eroded the gains of the N30,000 minimum wage because it has spiral effects which include the high costs of food and services and the reduction in the purchasing power of ordinary Nigerians.
‘’In the light of all of these, NEC thought that the issue of deregulation would be a continuous exploitation if it is import-driven.
“While demanding that our three refineries should be made to work optimally and then, it would benefit Nigerians, NEC also concluded that government has business in doing business because the primary purpose of governance is about the security and welfare of the people and if in other countries, governments are maintaining refineries, and they are working optimally for the benefit of the people, Nigeria cannot be an exception.
“In the light of these, NEC decided to endorse the two-week ultimatum given to the federal government to reverse those obnoxious decisions and also pronounce that the action proposed by the Central Working Committee is hereby endorsed by NEC that 28th of September should be the date that those decisions should be challenged by Nigerian workers, our civil society allies and other labour centre’s.”