Labour Congress issues 2-week ultimatum to FG over electricity, fuel price hike

The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) has issued a two-week ultimatum to the federal government to reverse the increase in petrol price and electricity tariff. 

The NLC announced its decision at a central working committee meeting in Abuja on Wednesday.

In a communiqué read by its President, Ayuba Wabba, the labour union said the ultimatum takes immediate effect, warning that it will mobilise its members nationwide for protests as from September 28.

“We met to discuss the twin-challenge of the increases in the electricity tariffs and pump price of petroleum products and clearly speaking, we have looked at particularly workers that earn wages,” Wabba said.

"So, it was decided that we issue the statutory two weeks’ notice to the federal government to reverse those decisions and in our own case, the NEC also has to sanction it if you want to undertake such action.

“So, we have summoned the NEC to meet on Tuesday, September 22, for the action that is been proposed for 28th of this month. So, invariably, this is part of the decision of the Central Working Committee consisting of all Presidents and Secretary Generals of our affiliate unions.

“Many people are at pains now. The impact of the electricity tariffs is the fact that those in category ‘A,’ which they have increased their tariffs are the manufacturers, which will transfer the cost on goods and services. That is why the cost of goods and services are also going up.

"Those issues that constitute the price is part of the inefficiency in the system which government hitherto has been paying and christened subsidy. “Government cannot transfer the inefficiency to the people. Nigeria should refine its products.

“At this point, what do you have on the table to cushion the effects on workers, their families because they have been pushed to the wall and already at the edge. Do you have anything for us? “So, that we can now say that despite these challenges, this is what I have for Nigerian workers that they can be able to have something that can cushion this effect for them.”

The federal government had said the ultimatum issued to it earlier by the Trade Union Congress (TUC) to reverse the increase in electricity tariff and price of petrol was misplaced.

The TUC, in a letter dated September 4 and addressed to President Muhammadu Buhari, issued a seven-day ultimatum calling for a reversal in the price of fuel and electricity tariff.

The union said at the expiration of the ultimatum, its members shall commence an indefinite strike and national protests from September 28.

But Chris Ngige, minister of labour and employment, said it was wrong of the union to address the letter to the president whom he said is not recognised by the International Labour Organisation.

Fielding questions from state house correspondents at the end of the federal executive council (FEC) meeting on Wednesday, Ngige said the letter should have been addressed to the minister of labour.

“On the TUC issue, the seven-day ultimatum was misplaced because they wrote the President and issued an ultimatum to him,” Ngige said.

"The President is not recognised by the 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.”

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