The Nigerian Labour Congress has given the Federal Government a two-week ultimatum to reverse the recent increase in electricity prices and the removal of fuel subsidy, else it will embark on a nationwide strike.
This was contained in a communique issued, after the meeting of its Central Working Committee (CWC), dated 16th of September 2020. The CWC met on the said date, at their Headquarters in the Central Business District, Abuja.
According to Labour, the hike in pump price of fuel and electricity tariff, “were ill-timed, and insensitive to the sufferings that Nigerians are going through,” calling on the government to reverse it.
The CWC, therefore, made the following decisions;
1. The CWC resolved to issue a 2 weeks ultimatum for an indefinite strike action, if government fails to reverse the recent hike in the pump price of petrol and electricity tariff.
2. The CWC resolved that government must demonstrate its commitment to resuscitating Nigeria’s four public refineries, and building new ones as a sustainable response to the perennial instability, and hike in the pump price of refined petroleum products – particularly petrol, diesel, and kerosene
3. The NLC will begin a mass mobilization of the Nigerian people, professional groups, religious organizations, market women, the informal sector, and allies in the Congress civil societies, towards total compliance to the indefinite strike action.
Labour further directed all its affiliate unions of congress, to fully mobilize their members in readiness for the strike action, should the government fail to meet their demands for a reversal of the price increments.
What to expect: Nairametrics expects further round of negotiations over the next two weeks, as government hopes to reach a grand bargain with labour over the increases.
The two weeks ultimatum ends September 30th, assuming a start date of September 16th. This could jeopardize the government’s independence day celebration plans, if negotiations fail and the strike ensues.
What is clear is that the government does not have the money to continue to pay subsidy for fuel and electricity. Hence, it is unlikely that it will yield to demands of labour.
Distribution companies have already implemented the tariff increases, while fuel stations have also reflected the new pump prices.
It is likely that the government could consider increasing wages or providing tangible palliatives, as a means to address labour’s concerns.