Labour threatens to shut down economy over fuel price, electricity tariff increases


The Nigeria labour movement has threatened industrial strike by midnight of Tuesday if the Federal Government fails to reverse the recent increase in the fuel price and that of electricity tariff.

In a communiqué by the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Trade Union Congress of Nigeria (TUC) and Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) and signed by NLC President, Ayuba Wabba and the TUC President, Bobbio Kaigama, the unions noted that the reversal to the old price regime would reduce the suffering of the people.

They threatened to mobilize Nigerians, shut down all banks, sea and airports, government and private offices as well as markets.

The labour unions stand came as unions in the oil sector are considering a meeting to harmonise with NLC and the TUC.

“We consider this singular act of mindless pump price increase as a betrayal of trust and also urge government to revert to the pre-45 percent electricity tariff increase, make meters available to consumers and stop estimated billing”, said the communique.

The communique urged the government to reconstitute the boards of the Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency (PPPRA) and the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) without further delay.

It also urged the government to intensify efforts to prosecute all those involved in subsidy scams in the country with a view to recovering what was due the nation and sanctioning all those culpable.

It advised the government to enhance local refining capacity within a specified period instead of “endless importation’’ as an enduring solution to the perennial problem of scarcity.

Labour further advised the government to “reverse the entire deregulation and privatisation process, which foists on the nation, private individuals as drivers of the economy in contravention of the constitutional provision that says government shall be the driver of the economy and engage the organised labour in the process of negotiation on key policy issues.

The communiqué said in parts: “We call on government to uphold the electioneering promises to Nigerians instead of subjecting them to the vagaries of slavish policies such as full devaluation of the naira and total removal of subsidy.

“In the event government fails to accede to these demands on or before 12 midnight on Tuesday May 17, 2016, NLC, TUC, and their civil society allies resolve to go on strike and commence the following actions with effect from Wednesday, May 18, 2016:

“Mobilise ordinary and helpless Nigerians to whom they owe the duty of protection, to the streets across the country.

“Fight/ resist the machinations and cruelties of the neo-liberal forces in the government as part of the process of saving it from itself and the generality of Nigerians from slavery.’’

The communiqué called on Nigerians to stock sufficient food items that would last for a while for the prosecution of the strike.

Meanwhile, Wabba has said that NLC, TUC and their civil society allies are not unaware of the positions taken by the unions in the oil and gas sector.

He told newsmen on Saturday that a process of engagement would be put in place to ensure the “success of the struggle to protect the overall interest of the Nigerian people’’.

Johnson Olabode, the President, Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria, said that the unions in the oil and gas industry were not against deregulation but against the import-driven deregulation in the country

According to him, the unions in the oil and gas sector are not in support of the new pump price of fuel as it will not be regulated across the country.

Olabode called for the passage of the Petroleum Industry Bill into law, saying it would address major issues in the oil and gas sector.

He said that the unions in the oil and gas sector would meet with NLC and TUC to harmonise the differences in the outcome of their positions.