The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) has said it is not going back on its proposed industrial action on Wednesday, unless the Federal Government, and by extension the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation Limited (NNPCL), does the needful by returning to the status quo.
NLC insisted on the position in a statement by Benson Upah, Head of Information and Public Affairs on Sunday.
The workers body was reacting to a story in a national newspaper on Sunday, when it used the opportunity to clarify its stand.
It described the lead story on the front page of ThisDay of Sunday, June 4, 2023, entitled, ‘NLC Divided as North, South-West Chapters May Shun Planned Strike’, as laughable and desperate attempt by enemies of the people to polarise Nigeria Labour Congress along ethnic or regional lines on an issue with a national spread.
According to Upah, this scenario only plays in their imagination as Nigeria Labour Congress continues to be the biggest pan-Nigerian organisation united by a common vision/mission and shared national values.
“On the looming strike action, we want to assure that all the affiliate unions of the congress stand together with an unshakeable resolve to prosecute, come Wednesday, except the NNPC and government do the needful.
“Whereas, primordial sentiments such as religion, region or ethnicity may be refuge for some, at the Nigeria Labour Congress they have no place. What counts for us are issues such as the mindless and criminal increase in the pump price of PMS whose burden will be borne by the already impoverished communities of the poor across Nigeria,” Labour stated.
NLC said the burden of this malevolent policy will not be borne by other segments of the country to the exclusion of the North or South-West. Hence, there is no reason for these regions to back out of the strike.
“We do not know from where ThisDay got their story. However, if this is their way of making up for the gaps in their relationship with the new entities in power, we would say, it is rather excessive!” The labour union noted.
Blackout Looms As Electricity Workers Join NLC Scheduled Strike
Meanwhile, nationwide blackout looms as National Union of Electricity Employees (NUEE) has instructed its members to cease their services across the country from Wednesday following the Federal Government’s abrupt removal of fuel subsidy.
In a notice signed by the Acting General Secretary, Dominic Igwebike, the NUEE urged its members to comply with the directive and initiate the work stoppage from the early hours of June 7.
President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, in his inaugural address on Monday, declared the end of the petroleum subsidy regime, deeming it unsustainable.
In response to this announcement, the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPCL) directed its outlets to sell fuel at a significantly increased price range of N480 to N570 per litre, representing a nearly 200 percent surge from the initial price below N200.
On Friday, the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) declared its intention to organise a nationwide protest on Wednesday, June 7, if the NNPCL refused to revert to the previous price regime in the oil sector. The Nigerian Union of Journalists also threatened to participate in the strike action.
In a letter to its members on Sunday, the NUEE explained that its decision was a result of the NLC emergency National Executive Council (NEC) meeting, held on June 2 at the Labour House in Abuja, to address the sudden removal of fuel subsidy, which was causing significant hardships for Nigerians and contributing to increased inflation in the economy.
The statement directed all national, state, and chapter executives to mobilise their members in full compliance with the directive, with the withdrawal of services nationwide commencing from 00.00 hours on Wednesday, June 7, 2023.
“To this effect, all national, state and chapter executives are requested to start the mobilisation of our members in total compliance with this directive,” the statement said.
“Please note that withdrawal of services nationwide commences from 0.00 hours of Wednesday, June 7, 2023,” the statement read in part.