By Christiana Onuoha
The Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC), has said threatened to go on a nationwide strike should the Federal Government attempt to increase fuel price to N385, as recently proposed by the Nigeria Governors Forum (NGF).
NLC also told Nigerians to note that further threats and punitive actions against workers by the Kaduna State government, would lead to immediate reactivation of its suspended strike in the state without notice.
Rising from Its National Executive Council (NEC), the largest labour union in Africa in a communique signed by its President, Comrade Ayuba Wabba and the Acting General Secretary, Comrade Ismail Bello, and made available to newsmen on Thursday in Abuja, further said that fuel price increase now would mean government worsening the extreme economic hardship in the country.
Expressing displeasure at what it described as an astronomical hike in the price of refined petroleum products by about three hundred percent, NLC said it was the height of provocation, arbitrariness, detachment and insensitivity to the current economic realities in the country and the extreme hardship that Nigerians especially workers, were going through.
“There is currently no negotiation with government over fuel price increase. The NEC recalled that the last meeting with Government in February 2021 was adjourned sine die. Since then, no other meeting has been called by government.
“The NEC reiterated that it still stands solidly by its decision taken at its meeting which took place on 17th February 2021 to reject further increases in the price of refined petroleum products particularly the Premium Motor Spirit (PMS); The NEC also reechoed its decision that the only sustainable way out of the crisis of fuel importation and associated dislocations in the downstream petroleum sub sector is for government to rehabilitate all four public refineries in Nigeria and build new ones;
“The NEC resolved that any decision to increase by even one cent the price of refined petroleum products especially PMS will attract an immediate withdrawal of services by Nigerian workers all over the country without any further notice; and
“The NEC resolved to write officially to the Federal Government of Nigeria conveying the plight of Nigerian workers, the concerns of Congress and the resolutions of the NEC on the matter of fresh proposals for an increase in the pump price of fuel especially as informed by the stance of the Nigeria Governors Forum.” The communique in part stated.
Commending the unprecedented solidarity by workers nationwide during the Kaduna protest and strike, the NEC observed the disposition of the Kaduna State Governor remains cantankerous and anomalous to negotiation in good faith.
“The NEC resolved to continue to keep its doors open for dialogue and amicable resolution of the industrial crisis occasioned by the insensitive and illegal mass sack of workers by the Kaduna State
“The NEC resolved that in case the Kaduna State Government remained adamant and recalcitrant or continues to pursue the path of war, threat and punitive actions against workers and their interests, that it had given the National Administrative Council (NAC) the power to re-activate the suspended industrial action in Kaduna State and also call for the withdrawal of services of all workers in Nigeria without any further notice.”
On Congress appearance and presentation of workers’ demands at the zonal public hearings on the constitutional review, NEC re-echoed the resolve of Nigerian workers to steadfastly defend the retention of the core labour issues of labour administration, the national minimum wage, pension and industrial relations in the exclusive legislative list of the Nigerian Constitution, local government and judicial autonomy, as well as autonomy for state legislatures.
“The NEC directed the full mobilization of workers at all the Zonal Public Hearings to lend weight to the demands and aspirations of Nigerian workers in the ongoing review of the 1999 Constitution.”