Nationwide total strike looms over fuel price hike; Labour fine-tunes strategies

Posted by News Express | 14 May 2016 | 2,191 times

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Following last Wednesday’s partial deregulation of the downstream sector of Petroleum industry by the Federal Government with an increase in pump price of petrol from N86.50 to N145, the organised labour and their civil society allies have resolved to lead Nigerian workers on strike after Wednesday, May 18.

It was gathered that labour leaders will send a letter to government latest tomorrow demanding a total reversal to the N86.50 pump price of petrol before 12 am on Wednesday, failing which all installations will be shut down thereafter.

Industrial unions have said between Monday and Tuesday, they will mobilise members for a nationwide total strike, and therefore urged Nigerians to prepare for the industrial action by stockpiling food items and other essential things they may need during the duration of the strike. Information available had it that while leaders of Ayuba Wabba faction of the Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC, will meet with their Trade Union Congress of Nigeria, TUC, counterparts today in Abuja alongside some civil society groups to harmonise positions on how to go about the planned action, the Joe Ajaero-led NLC will also meet today in Lagos with some civil society groups to take position.

It was gathered that though the National Executive Council, NEC, meetings of Ayuba Wabba faction of NLC was very stormy as labour leaders from the north were foot-dragging over the planned strike, labour leaders from the South west, South-South and South-East, insisted on fighting the government to a standstill over the hike. After much pressure, it was gathered that labour leaders from the north agreed to give the planned strike their total support. It was then resolved that a letter be sent to government between today and tomorrow on the resolve of labour and their civil society allies and that industrial unions should mobilise their members between Monday and Tuesday for a total strike that could commence on or after Wednesday.

Meanwhile, TUC on its part, at its NEC meeting gave government till Wednesday to invite labour leaders to find a way forward to avoid a total shut down of the country. However it is expected that at today’s meeting between TUC and Wabba faction of NLC, both positions would be harmonised for the action to begin on Wednesday. Addressing journalists after its NEC meeting, yesterday in Lagos, TUC President, Mr. Bobboi Kaigama, said the body was giving the Federal Government till May 18, to invite labour leaders to discuss the way forward to avoid nationwide strike.

“The NEC in session has given the government till Wednesday 18, to invite the leadership of labour for discussion aimed at determining the appropriate way forward,” Kaigama said.

According to him, the leadership of TUC would interface with the NLC and the Civil Society Allies to work out plans that would be put in place to protest the increase in fuel price if the government fails to meet the Wednesday deadline. Similarly, the Ajaero-led faction of NLC which had earlier given indication that members would join forces with other bodies and Nigerians to fight the hike, would meet today and also take a position.

Adapted from a Saturday Vanguard report. Photo shows a recent labour protest.


Source: News Express

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