Organized labor has threatened to embark on strike action ahead of a scheduled meeting with the Federal Government today.
The Nigerian Labor Congress said the government must meet its demands to lessen the effects of the fuel subsidy removal, if the strike is to be prevented.
According to Punch, the union threatened that it would not hesitate to call on workers to industrial action, adding that it was only suspending the planned strike.
It states that high fuel costs are causing unbearable hardship for Nigerians, adding that the government must act quickly on the supply of palliatives, as the NLC says it is expect a minimum wage increase from N30,000 to N150,000.
The Federal Government and labor unions met on 5 June 2023, with a resolution to reconvene on 19 June to agree on a framework for the implementation of the resolutions reached.
Former Speaker of the House and now Chief of Staff to the President, Femi Gbajabiamila, the leader of the government faction, revealed this at the end of a meeting between labor and government representatives at the Presidential Palace, Abuja.
According to him, the June 5 meeting agreed on a seven-point resolution to reduce the impact of the removal of subsidies on Premium Motor Spirit, commonly known as gasoline, on Nigerians.
“The Federal Government, the TUC and the NLC form a joint committee to consider proposals for any salary increase or bonus and establish the framework and timeline for implementation.
“The Federal Government, TUC and NLC review the World Bank-funded cash transfer program and propose to include low-income people in the program.
“The Federal Government, TUC and NLC to reinstate the previous CNG transition program agreed with Labor centers by 2021 and outlined a detailed implementation timeline,” Gbajabiamila declared.
But when contacted on Sunday to talk about worker expectations from the meeting scheduled for today (Monday), NLC Vice President, Adewale Adeyanju, said a lot has been done. presented by labor unions, emphasizing that the government should not act with humor.
“There are a lot of things that workers have put before the government. Refineries need to be refurbished. We cannot continue to import refined petroleum products and spend all the time on subsidies.
“Labour has its requirements and by the time we meet the government tomorrow, we will list them out again,” he declared.
When asked to specify what action the NLC will take if the government does not give in to the needs of workers, given the situation that Nigerians are currently facing regarding the removal of subsidies, Adeyanju replied: “You know, we just suspended the strike as a result of the need to respond on this.
“So the government should know that things are getting tough and they (the government) shouldn’t decide to do anything funny. The strike was just suspended. It was an ultimatum that was given and it (the strike) was suspended.
“So let’s hear what the government has for us and then we’ll know what to say to our members. It’s about people’s lives. See them tomorrow and then work will go to its place.”
However, Adeyanju expressed optimism that the meeting would be fruitful and emphasized that the NLC would not want the government to behave funny.
“We hope that the meeting will be fruitful. Expectations are very high. The whole country is watching and everyone is watching how the Nigerian Labor Congress will handle the situation.
“And the government won’t like to act funny because they know the country is struggling with fuel pump price hikes and a lot of other things,” he said. he declared.
Regarding the oil marketers’ proposal for the deployment of Compressed Natural Gas at filling stations, the NLC official stated that a technical committee has been established by the Federal Government to look into the matter.
“The government has set up a technical committee on some of these issues. So I don’t want us to pre-empt the results that will come out of tomorrow’s meeting between labor and government.” he declared.
Commenting on the need to implement CNG, National President of the Association of Independent Oil Marketers of Nigeria, Chinedu Okonkwo, said oil marketers are looking forward to the outcome of the meeting between the Union Governments state and workers before taking their actions.
“Tomorrow’s meeting (Monday) is very important, because marketers are ready to implement CNG, but the outcome of that meeting will tell us if the government is ready to provide the necessary support to innovate.” Is this ant effective or not.
“We strongly believe that with the implementation of CNG as an alternative to PMS, the heavy impact caused by the increase in petrol prices will be significantly mitigated.” Okonkwo announced on Sunday.
The NLC also announced on Sunday that it is expecting a minimum wage increase from N30,000 to between N150,000 and N200,000.
It went on to urge President Bola Tinubu to ensure that borders are reopened to ensure the smooth import and export of food and agricultural products.
National Treasurer, NLC, Hakeem Ambali, revealed this in an interview with one of our reporters in Abuja.
When asked about the NLC’s expectations from today’s meeting, Ambali said, “We are saying that since gasoline prices have tripled, we expect the minimum wage to be increased to a minimum of N150,000 to N200,000.”
He said the expectation of the NLC is also that President Bola Tinubu will issue operating permits to establish more modular refineries.
“We want to create a transparent body to monitor these refineries. We do not have to depend solely on multinational companies. We’ve got some Nigerians refining crude locally.
“Also, on the issue of energy, some Nigerians buy fuel for their generators and power them themselves, we want to revisit the corrupt privatization of the energy sector that has generating and selling energy to private individuals who do not add value to energy consumption in Nigeria,” he declared.
He said it was time for the government to look inward and see that these individuals were fired for incompetence.
“Alternative energy supplies such as solar systems should also be introduced. When you travel to other countries like Israel, you will find solar energy available there and cheaper and this is a clean energy alternative.
“We also want them to look at the transportation sector. We want the President to develop a master plan and provide an urban rail line for all the state capitals across the country. He should also open borders and allow free-market goods to flow into Nigeria and outside Nigeria.
“Operating and administrative costs are too high. We’ve also looked at that and we think the administration costs are high and the number of appointments will be reduced. We also believe that there should be a microcredit program to lend to farmers and entrepreneurs at small interest rates.” he declared.
Amballi called for relief for Nigerians, as prices of consumer goods have skyrocketed.
Also speaking on the topic, the National Vice President of the Trades Union Congress, Tommy Etim, called on the government to ensure that the requirements in the charter regarding requests to be presented to the government were met.
“It is expected that the government will review our positions. Since the elimination of benefits, workers are not amused, especially at home.
“The government must act quickly. It is expected that by tomorrow we will reach a concrete agreement even as negotiations continue.” he declared.
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