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Labour may begin strike on Monday

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President Trade Union Congress, Comrade Bobo Kaigama; President of Nigeria Labour Congress, Comrade Ayuba Wabba and Deputy President of the NLC, Comrade Peters Adeyemi . PHOTO: NAN

President Trade Union Congress, Comrade Bobo Kaigama; President of Nigeria Labour Congress, Comrade Ayuba Wabba and Deputy President of the NLC, Comrade Peters Adeyemi . PHOTO: NAN

• TUC to join protest, issues ultimatum
• NAEE advocates passage of competition law

Indications emerged yesterday that the labour movement in the country may begin an indefinite strike action and protests against the petrol deregulation policy at exactly midnight of Monday.

This comes as the Nigerian Association of Energy Economics (NAEE) urged the federal government to pass Competition Law to check price collusion.

It added that the introduction of liberalisation of the downstream sector would enhance the viability of the sector and boost establishment of refineries by investors and multi-national oil companies.

The Guardian gathered in Abuja yesterday that both the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and Trade Union Congress (TUC), as well as their civil society allies are meeting in the federal capital this morning to harmonise their positions and put finishing touches to the national strike action.

A source close to the labour movement told The Guardian that while the National Executive Council (NEC) members of the NLC were already in Abuja, those of TUC and members of the civil society were still in Lagos, but are expected to fly into Abuja this morning to finalise the arrangements.

The source explained: “Organising a national strike is what the labour movement and civil society have considerable experience in. There is no way a national strike can be called just a day or two after the announcement of the new price was made.

“We need to first hold the relevant organs meeting and then hold on for our civil society allies to also come on board.

“The NEC meetings of both the NLC and TUC took place in different cities, which will require traveling. We are now expecting TUC and our civil society allies to come into Abuja tomorrow (today), so that we are able to harmonise our positions.

“Those who will travel also need one day to travel back and mobilise unions for the strike action. Therefore, we need Saturday (today) and Sunday (tomorrow) to put all these logistics together.

“Switching off the crude oil loading terminals and other technical details in the oil sector need time to do and that applies to our colleagues in the aviation sector. We need a few days to perfect all these logistics ends. That is why we think that Sunday night at exactly 12:00am is the most appropriate time to begin the action.

“That is the position as at now.”

Indeed, the NLC postponed a media briefing that was earlier scheduled to hold yesterday at 4:00pm to 12noon today ostensibly to give room for the expanded meeting of all the stakeholders scheduled for this morning.

Meanwhile, NAEE president, Prof Wumi Iledare, argued that a credible and strong commitment by the government to deregulate the sector would be the beginning of the reversal of the fortune of the sector that has been crippled over the years by the overbearing government interventions.

Iledare, who spoke in Abuja yesterday on the implications of the deregulation policy, however, cautioned against government interference with the price.

He submitted that the template of the Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency (PPPRA) must be calibrated with adjustment for a market dictated margin and other static input factors reviewed with less sentiment.

Iledare stated that while the removal of subsidy would bring immediate pain, it would ultimately boost the economic prosperity of the country.

He said: “In the long run, this step would add significant value to the economy, in terms of trillions of naira to build the national economy for infrastructure, capacity building and development.

“It will increase government access to funds to develop infrastructure; decrease smuggling activities, especially to neighbouring countries; increase free market operations; spur the rehabilitation and revamping of the local refineries; and reduce declining fortune of Nigerians in the long run.”

He also urged the federal government to pass the competition law to ensure that significant market power does not collude to influence market prices.

“The exercise of market vigorous oversight is not consistent with an efficient market system. Government must ensure that all forms of collusion to influence market outcomes are promptly dealt with.”

Meanwhile, the Trade Union Congress (TUC) has announced it would join the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) to protest the hike in the price of petrol.

In a statement signed by the its president, Bobboi Kaigama, at the end of its emergency meeting in Lagos last night, TUC also gave government up till Wednesday, May18, to invite Labour for genuine dialogue or face its wrath.

The communiqué issued at the end of the meeting read in part: “The NEC-in-Session rejected in its entirety the astronomical increase in the price of petrol from N86.50 per litre to N145 per litre and demanded that the Government should revert to the old price regime with immediate effect.

“The NEC in session gave the Federal Government up till Wednesday, 18th May, 2016 to invite the leadership of labour for discussion aimed at determining the appropriate way forward.”

The NEC-in-Session also directed the leadership of the TUC to interface with the NLC and civil society allies to work out action plans that would be put in place to protest the insensitive fuel price hike should government fail to meet the deadline.



10 Comments
  • Sanmi Ola Popoola

    I sincerely hope that the future of our children are more important than being confrontational, we should get out of the subsidy regime that the Nation is not benefiting from but few fraudulent people and our neighbouring countries,
    The majority of Nigerians are not in favour of the planned strike
    We should allow about 300000 of our unemployed youths who will get employment as a result of deregulation to do so.

    • Emmanuel Cosmas

      The same subsidy regime the former president wanted taking us away from and this same set of men calling themselves our leaders gallantly protested against. Foul play

  • Chykrinks

    NLC and TUC’s agitation have little or nothing to be founded on. It seems that we have labour leaders who are shortsighted. Why go on strike when your economy is at it’s lowest point? This wouldn’t just cripple whatever is left in d economy now but will also prolong it’s growth. Have they thought to deliberate on other issues like reducing the allowances of the legislative members, seeking for an increase in minimum wage, revamping our educational system, strengthening workers union in industries owned by the private sector where people lose their lives and are not compensated. It seems that the only thing these guys strike on is crude oil related issue. Is that really the goal of a labour congress? Gone are the days when Comrade Oshiomole took to the streets of Lagos protesting for an increase in minimum wage, which the whole world backed. If these men continue to act in this manner, then Nigeria might never escape the conditions that we are in now for God knows when.

    • yinka

      The answer is workers should ignore their strike call. No responsible will call this type of strike under the economy situation. There only ACES card for relevance is oil subsidy. Other the calling for strike for oil subsidy, they do not have anything to offer the workers. Country do not raise minimum wages when economy is struggling. They want minimum wage of 56,000 when the oil price $30 a barrel and to do that government has to get rid of at least 50% of workforce. Even Saudi Arabia with $800 billion in reserve remove 50% of subsidy. Federal and State government should get rid off any of their workers that fail to show up for work because of oil subsidy and hire new workers. It is about time to bring discipline to Civil service work

  • vic

    GOOD MOVE.

  • vic

    NLC AND TUC, IN VIEW OF THE CURRENT REALITIES ON THE GROUND, MAKE A NEW DEMAND FOR MINIMUM WAGE OF N150,000. WITHDRAW YOUR OLD HASTY AND ILL-THOUGHT OUT DEMAND OF N56,000.

    DO NOT EVEN THINK OF THE FIGURE N100,000. THAT WILL BE AGAIN A MISTAKE.

    NEW COST OF LIVING, NEW MINIMUM WAGE. CORRECT?????

    ACTUALLY, IT WILL BE HEIGHT OF FOOLISHNESS TO STRIKE, IT WILL HARM THE NATIONAL ECONOMY AND WILL HELP NO ONE. YOU CANNOT REVERSED THE NEWLY DEVALUED NAIRA TO N370 TO A DOLLAR NOR CAN YOU REVERSE THE NEW FUEL PRICE. SO THE ONLY BEST OPTION IS REVISE YOUR EARLIER MINIMUM WAGE DEMAND FROM N56,000 TO NEW REALITY WAGE OF N150,000. DOES IT MAKE SENSE?? OH YES, IT DOES. THEN LET US GO AHEAD WITH THIS NEW STRATEGY THAN TO WASTE YOUR TIME ON DESTRUCTION AND UNPRODUCTIVE STRIKES. OF COURSE, IF THE BUHARI’S GOVERNMENT REJECTS YOUR NEW DEMAND OF N150,000 THEN BY ALL MEANS GO ON INDEFINITE NATIONAL STRIKE. MAKES SENSE?? YES!

    NLC AND TUC DO THE RIGHT THING AND SHOW MATURITY.

    • amador kester

      Had labour undertaken this strike to press for implementation of tbe reports of last national conference and even the passage of antitrust laws it could have made greater meaning.. But for now the overwhhelming calculus of costings in the petroleum sector and the need to break many years of subsidy logjam that achieved nothing and benefitted only the oil cabals make labour,s intended actions preposterous,uncalculating and antipeople. What labour needs do now is consult vertically and horizontally with people to extract the sector govt should meaningfully apply the savings from the defunct subsidy system to impact peoples lives such as low cost housing,technical schools,minimum wage , power projects,,water projects,rural roads,mass transit buses,etc. If not it would seem that labour indirectly benefitted from the subsidy system and this renders it in a despicable situation of a dog walking on its hindlegs when it pontificates on this industrial action relentlessly

      • vic

        nlc and tuc should insist on minimum wage of n156000 in light of the present day realities in nigeria. just in the past few days the prices of market commodities and services have doubled. thanks to buhari.

        if all form of looting is stopped today then there are more than enough funds in the treasury to fully support and implement the suggested minimum wage. the question is who is ruining the economy?? it is indeed due to the dishonest novice politicians with compulsive looting habits and lack of sound economic policies. the governments cannot continue to loot with impunity and begin to cry wolf when it comes to the question of minimum wage for the nation’s workers, keeping in mind that each of these corrupt politicians have been steeling billions and are still stealing billions everyday. each governor, each minister, each senator, each nass member is a potential high level thief and a looter living the lives of luxury from stolen public funds. these are low-life beasts of no conscience crying wolf over the economy, in fact they are looting the economy raw daily with impunity.

  • BENBELLA

    What a shame on them, striking for what ? waste of Nigerian time, those ugly fat belly guys , selfish people, what have they done for the Nation , talk, talk, talk, ,both have nothing in common to fight for ….

  • Adetola Danmola

    ALL WORKER IGNORE THESE FOOLS PLEASE!