The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) on Wednesday issued a two-week ultimate to the federal government to reverse the decision on the recent hike in electricity tariff and the pump price of petrol.
The NLC and its affiliate members maintained that failure to heed their demands would leave them with no option than to paralyse every sector by embarking on an indefinite strike as well as mobilising its members nationwide for a protest after the September 28 deadline.
Comrade Ayuba Wabba, the NLC President, in a communiqué read to journalists after the Central Working Committee meeting, which held in Abuja that lasted several hours, argued that the hike has rendered the new minimum wage of N30, 000 worthless owing to rising inflation across the country.
“The National Administrative Council as well as the Central Working Committee of the NLC has just ended its meeting.
“The meeting was convened to look at the twin issue of the hike in electricity tariff and also the fuel price increase.
“The CWC has noted that these twins increase despite the fact that is ill-timed because of COVID-19 is also bad because of the socio-economic situation of the country,” Wabba said.
He added, “The CWC also identified the fact that the policy has reduced the purchasing power of Nigerians as well as Nigerian workers.
“Also, it has brought about the high cost of goods and services, and importantly, has eroded completely the gains of the N30, 000 minimum wage.
“The CWC also looked at the report of the meeting that took place between the federal government and organised labour where NLC was represented by 14 of its leaders and therefore resolved as follows:
“The CWS resolved to issue a 2-week (11 days from Wednesday) ultimatum to the federal government to reverse or face industrial action and peaceful assembly.
“In furtherance to this, CWC resolved also to convey a meeting of National Executive Council in line with our constitution on the 22nd of September, 2020 to give effect to this decision because the proposal for the action is to commence on Monday, September 28, 2020, if those issues are not addressed.
“NLC Central Working Committee also will mobilise its members, our civil society allies and other social partners to try to resist this policy because it has driven many into poverty.”
The unionist lamented the sorry state of affairs in the country, adding that there were instances where the cost of electricity had been established to be more than the minimum wage.
According to him, “This afternoon, CWC members were sharing their experiences arising from the exploitative nature of these policies where it is very evident that in some cases, even the N30, 000 minimum wage cannot even pay for the electricity bill.
“In fact, the experience we have here is that somebody loaded a credit of N30, 000 but it didn’t take him up to two weeks.
“This has been the experience all over the country.
“So, it is a decision that is biting at every worker, every family and I think it is a decision that certainly requires reversal.
However, the Minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige, on Wednesday, described as misplaced, the seven-day ultimatum by the Trade Union Congress (TUC) over the fuel price and electricity tariff hikes.
Ngige was addressing State House reporters after the cabinet meeting presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari.
“The TUC issue, the seven-day ultimatum was misplaced because they were writing the president and issuing ultimatum to him.
“The president is not recognised by ILO.
“The competent authority for this nature of dispute in Nigeria resides in the man who oversees them, which is whoever is the minister of labour and employment,” the minister said.
Again, security agencies disrupt protest in Lagos
Security agents on Wednesday disrupted protest staged by activists demanding the reversal of the recent petrol price hike with several of the activists arrested.
Daily Trust reports that the protest started from Yaba with the protesters heading towards Ojuelegba.
They were carrying placards with several inscriptions asking the federal government to reverse the fuel price increment.
The protest was held under the auspices of the Joint Action Front (JAF), which had last week declared national mass actions against the increment in petrol price from N148 to N160.