NLC set to confront FG over fuel price increase

•Actions to commence Monday, September 28 •Reverse price or face industrial action

The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) on Wednesday gave an undiluted decision through the resolutions of its Central Working Committee (CWC) to lead what it earlier termed a “father of all protests,” against the Federal Government over its unilateral increase in the price of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) popularly called petrol.

After its Central Working Committee (CWC) meeting in Abuja on Wednesday, the congress gave a 14-day ultimatum to the Federal Government, to reverse the price of fuel or face industrial action; and a total shutdown of the country’s economy.

This is despite a marathon meeting held on Tuesday by the Federal Government team, headed by the Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr Chris Ngige, with five other ministers; with the organized labour – the NLC and the Trade Union Congress- over the vexed issue of a pump price increase.

The meeting, which commenced at 10 am and ended by 7.30 pm, could not effectively resolve the knotty issue as the organized labour insisted first, on the reversal of the fuel price and electricity tariff, while tangible palliatives should be put in place and solutions to the nation’s economic crisis amidst COVID-19 crisis could be jointly discussed and arrived at.

Rising from its CWC meeting the NLC expressed disappointment that government decided to increase both the price of fuel and also electricity tariff at a time other countries across the world are giving palliatives to their citizens to cushion the effect of COVID-19.

The congress resolved to commence industrial action on Monday, September 28 and vowed to mobilize all its members and its civil society allies to confront the government if it failed to reverse the price.

The NLC also resolved to call the meeting of its National Executive Council to give effect to the action.

“The Central Working Committee resolved also to convene a meeting of the National Executive Council in line with our constitution on the 22 of September 2020, Tuesday; to also give effect to this decision because the proposed action, will commence on Monday, September 28, 2020, if those issues are not addressed.” Comrade Ayuba Wabba, the President of NLC, said after the meeting on Wednesday.

Addressing a press conference at the end of the meeting, Comrade Wabba said: “The CWC identified that COVID-19 and also the socio-economic situation of the country has given Nigerians enough suffering and that the hike has reduced the purchasing power of Nigerians as well as Nigerian workers.

“Also, it has brought about a high cost of goods and services and we saw that it has eroded completely the gains of the N30,000 minimum wage.

“The CWC and the NEC also took reports of the meeting that took place between the Federal Government and the organised labour where NLC was represented by 14 of its leaders.”

On the resolutions at the CWC meeting, the NLC President said: “The Central Working Committee issued a two-week ultimatum to the Federal Government to reverse the fuel price hike or face industrial action and peaceful Assembly.

“NLC Central Working Committee will also mobilise its members, our civil society allies and other social partners to try to resist these policies because it has driven many into poverty.

“This afternoon, the Central Working Committee members were sharing their aims and experiences arising from the exploitative nature of these policies where it is very evident even in some cases the N30,000 minimum wage cannot actually pay for the electricity.

“The experience we have here is that somebody actually loaded a credit of N30,000, it could not take him two weeks and this has been the experience all over the country. It is really a decision that is biting at every worker and every family and I think it is a decision that certainly requires reversion.”

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