Fuel Price, Electricity Tariff Increase: NLC and TUC’s accord with FG shortchanges the masses — HURIWA

Posted by News Express | 29 September 2020 | 699 times

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•Labour leaders during their meeting with the FG delegation


Civil rights advocacy group, the Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA), has asked the Nigerian masses to fight for their rights as regards the excruciating hardships and hard times already inflicted by the hike in the pump price of fuel and electricity tariff because the organised labour unions represent only the interest of paid workers in Nigeria who are less than 19 percent of the population of Nigeria.

HURIWA, while reacting to the sudden call off of the planned national strike and protest by the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and Trade Union Congress (TUC), accused the organised trade unions of trade-off and serial betrayal of the trust of the Nigerian masses.

Said HURIWA: “The idea that the organised labour told Nigerians that the intentions for the now suspended but never intended strike was to defend the interests of the oppressed masses but will, in the wee hours of the night, sneaked into the presidential mansion to strike an unholy accord with the Federal Government, is the height of betrayal similar to the depravity of Judas Iscariot in the New Testament of the Holy Scriptures.

“Since assuming offices as leaders of NLC/TUC, these hierarchies of the few Nigerians in paid employment will always deceive the masses that their agitations capture the aspirations of commoners but in effect these union leaders together with Government, in the night, usually strike anti-masses’ deals which in essence neglects the core issues of the agitations of the masses for a reversal of importantly, fuel price and also the electricity tariff.

“This show of grand deception and deceit is a manifestation of the indisputable fact that the labour unions played a fast one on millions of Nigerians who had wrongly hinged their hopes on these labour leaders but whose interests are purely that of the less than 19 percent of Nigerians.

“This call off of the protest is the grand mother of all betrayals, and this should be a warning sign for the ordinary people of Nigeria, including the over 60 million unemployed youths, to take their destiny in their hands and protest the injustices of government or perish as slaves.

Now that their fascination over the Big Brother Naija is over, can the youths now constructively engage government so these hardships are reversed?”

HURIWA insisted that from data made available by the International Labour Organization (ILO), wage and salaried workers, in total in Nigeria was 18.71 as of 2019. Its highest value over the past 28 years was 18.85 in 2010, while its lowest value was 14.93 in 1991.

“Also, the global body defined wage and salaried workers (employees) as those workers who hold the type of jobs defined as "paid employment jobs," where the incumbents hold explicit (written or oral) or implicit employment contracts that give them a basic remuneration that is not directly dependent upon the revenue of the unit for which they work,” the group said.

HURIWA argued further that in line with what ILO says that a high proportion of wage and salaried workers in a country can signify advanced economic development and also that if the proportion of own-account workers (self-employed without hired employees) is sizeable, it may be an indication of a large agricultural sector and low growth in the formal economy. A high proportion of contributing family workers – generally unpaid, although compensation might come indirectly in the form of family income – may indicate weak development, little job growth, and often a large rural economy. Each status group faces different economic risks, and contributing family workers and own-account workers are the most vulnerable – and therefore the most likely to fall into poverty.

“They are the least likely to have formal work arrangements, are the least likely to have social protection and safety nets to guard against economic shocks, and often are incapable of generating sufficient savings to offset these shocks.

“These indicators show that Nigeria is a very poor nation with a higher percentage of jobless people,” the rights group noted.

It therefore urged the people of Nigeria to find ways and means of negotiating with officials of government so that the high costs of living brought about by the hikes in the prices of the petrol and electricity are removed.

HURIWA said that the agreement between the Federal Government and the NLC/TUC is at best in the interest of very few Nigerians who are in paid employment and are less than 20 percentage point of all of Nigerians.

The rights group said there was no way the ambiguous terms of agreements have served the interests of poor and jobless Nigerians just as it asked jobless youths, students and the credible civil society stakeholders to begin concrete demands for the Federal Government to ameliorate, in a concrete and pragmatic manners, the high costs of living foisted on millions of Nigerians by the toxic hikes in the prices of Premium Motor Spirit and electricity.

Source: News Express

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