Strike: Gbajabiamila wades in, urges NLC, TUC to reconsider stance
Speaker of the House of Representatives, Mr Femi Gbajabiamila has waded into the planned nationwide strike action by the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and the Trade Union Congress (TUC) on the recent hike in electricity tariff and fuel price billed to commence tomorrow.
The Speaker at a parley with the unionists led by Ayuba Wabba and Emmanuel Ogboja at the National Assembly Complex in Abuja called on the labour leaders to reconsider their stance on the issue in the interest of Nigerians.
The Speaker, who aligned himself with the position of the labour labours on the issue, however, maintained that the timing for the strike action was wrong as it would worsen the plight of Nigerians.
The Speaker said it behoves the labour leaders to hold on and wait for the passage of the 2021 budget which would surely accommodate their key demands around the need for palliatives to cushion the effect of the increase in electricity tariff and fuel price increase.
Said he: “We can’t go on strike. We can’t do this in good conscience. We are on the same page with you on most of these issues with you. The leadership of the House is on the same page with you. But what are the consequences?
“When we have government shutdown, the people we seek to protect invariably will be affected. No matter how long the negotiation, at the end of the day, there is still a better route to take. I am a comrade by my own right. We share your cause, your philosophy with regard to workers plight.
“We have to be flexible. Our concern is about the people out there, about shutting down markets, banks and other essential services. That is our worry and for how long and what would be achieved at the end of the day. When you go into a battle we must try to understand what is the end game.
“I will love government to reverse the policy if maybe. But we must understand that rarely does government reverse policy decisions. In fact, it’s called policy summersaults. More than one way there are many ways to skin a cat rather than going straight-jacketed.”
The Speaker recalled the House resolutions against estimated billing and hike in electricity tariff to buttress the fact that the House was on the same page with the labour leaders.
Earlier on, Wabba claimed that his members were not consulted before the implementation of the policy on electricity tariff and fuel price increase.
This, he said has led to what termed “a lot of dislocation” in the wellbeing of the workers who can no longer afford basic goods and services with their meagre salaries.
The labour leader particularly wondered why the government would “transfer the cost of inefficiency” in the power sector privatised over seven years ago on Nigerians through the latest increase in electricity tariff.
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