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NLC vows to proceed on strike over fuel hike next week [update]

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Organised labour has vowed to go on with the proposed industrial action and protests over the recent hike in fuel price.

The National Executive Council of the Trade Union Congress (TUC) and Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) made the resolve following its meeting in Abuja on Tuesday.

Speaking to newsmen shortly after the meeting, NLC President, Ayuba Wabba, said the proposed industrial action will proceed from next week.

According to Wabba, the decision of the strike, which was unanimously taken by NLC chairmen of the 36 states and FCT chapters, will take effect from September 28.

The NLC chairman decried the failure of the Federal Government to reverse the hike in electricity tariff and fuel price which were imposed 24 hours apart.

On his part, the TUC, in a statement by its President, Comrade Quadri Olaleye and Secretary-General, Comrade Musa-Lawal Ozigi, warned Nigerians to get ready for the “unprecedented mass action against corruption, obnoxious policies, rape and other violent offences, breach of Collective Agreement, unemployment, etc.”

President of the NLC, Comrade Ayuba Wabba read the communique of the meeting to newsmen as follows:

“NEC resolved to reject in its entirety the issue of hike in electricity tariffs by almost 100 per cent as well as the fuel price increase in the name of full deregulation.

“This decision is premised on the fact that these twin decisions alongside other decisions of government including the increase of VAT by 7.5 per cent, numerous charges being charged by commercial banks on depositors without any explanations will further impoverish Nigerian workers and citizens, including their families.

“Therefore, this increase, coming in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, is not only ill-timed, but it is also counterproductive.

“NEC also observed that the privatisation of the electricity sub-sector seven years down the line has not yielded any positive result.

“Whereas, the entire privatisation process, the entire sector was sold at about N400 billion.

“We are also surprised that government within the last four years injected N1.5 trillion over and above the amount that accrued from this important asset.

“Therefore, NEC came to the conclusion that the entire privatisation process has failed and the electricity hike is actually a process of continuous exploitation of Nigerians.

“On the issue of the refineries and also the increase in the pump price of PMS, this particular issue had been on the table for more than three decades and the argument had not changed.

“Whether it is the name of full deregulation or subsidy removal, what is obvious is that it is fuel price hike and this has further eroded the gains of the N30,000 minimum wage because it has spiral effects which include the high costs of food and services and the reduction in the purchasing power of ordinary Nigerians.

“In the light of all of these, NEC thought that the issue of deregulation would be a continuous exploitation if it is import-driven.

“While demanding that our three refineries should be made to work optimally and then, it would benefit Nigerians, NEC also concluded that government has business in doing business because the primary purpose of governance is about the security and welfare of the people and if in other countries, governments are maintaining refineries, and they are working optimally for the benefit of the people, Nigeria cannot be an exception.”

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