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Subsidy: Labour threatens a strike as talks with the FG resume

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Subsidy: Labour threatens a strike as talks with the FG resume.

The Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC, has threatened to strike ahead of today’s Federal Government and organised labour meeting (Monday).

The NLC is demanding that the government meet its demands in order to mitigate the impact of the removal of fuel subsidies.

It stated that it would not hesitate to call for strike action, but that it had only suspended its planned strike.

According to the NLC, the high cost of fuel was causing unfathomable hardship for Nigerians.

It stated that the government must act quickly to provide palliatives, and that it expects the minimum wage to be raised from N30,000 to N150,000.

Remember that the Federal Government and labour unions met on June 5, 2023, and agreed to reconvene on June 19 to agree on the framework for implementing the resolutions reached.

Femi Gbajabiamila, former Speaker of the House of Representatives and current Chief of Staff to the President, who led the government side, revealed this at the end of a meeting between labour and government representatives at the Presidential Villa in Abuja.

Gbajabiamila stated that the June 5 meeting agreed on a seven-point resolution to mitigate the impact of the removal of subsidies on Premium Motor Spirit, also known as petrol, on Nigerians.

“The Federal Government, the TUC, and the NLC to establish a joint committee to review any wage increase or award proposal and establish a framework and timeline for implementation,” he said.

“The Federal Government, the TUC, and the NLC will review the World Bank-financed cash transfer scheme and propose that low-income earners be included in the programme.”

“The Federal Government, the TUC, and the NLC will relaunch the CNG conversion programme previously agreed upon with labour centres in 2021 and work out the details of implementation and timing,” he said.

However, speaking on the expectations of labour from the meeting scheduled for today (Monday), Adewale Adeyanju, Vice President, NLC, said a lot of things had been presented by labour unions, emphasising that the government should not act funny.

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“Labour has presented the government with a slew of proposals.” The refineries must be modernised. We can’t keep importing refined petroleum products and spending all of our money on subsidies.

“Labour has its demands, and when we meet with the government tomorrow, we will list them again,” he said.

Adeyanju, when asked what action the NLC would take if the government did not give in to labour demands, said, “You know, we only suspended our strike because we needed to meet on this.”

“So the government should be aware that things are becoming difficult, and they (the government) should not act foolishly.” The strike was only put on hold. The strike was called off after an ultimatum was issued.

“Let’s see what the government has in store for us, and then we’ll know what to tell our members.” It is about the people’s lives. Let’s meet tomorrow, and then Labor will issue its position.”

Adeyanju, on the other hand, expressed optimism that the meeting would be fruitful and insisted that the NLC would not tolerate the government acting strangely.

“We hope that the meeting will be fruitful.” The stakes are extremely high. The entire country is watching to see how the Nigeria Labour Congress will handle the situation.

“And the government, too, will not like to act strangely because they know the country is struggling with the increase in fuel pump prices and so many other things,” he said.

Concerning the proposal by oil marketers to deploy compressed natural gas at filling stations, an NLC official stated that the Federal Government had formed a technical committee to investigate the matter.

“On some of these issues, the government has formed a technical committee.” So I don’t want us to predict the outcomes of the meeting between Labour and the government tomorrow,” he said.

Concerning the deployment of CNG, Chinedu Okonkwo, National President of the Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria, stated that oil marketers were waiting for the outcome of the meeting between the Federal Government and labour before making any moves.

“That meeting tomorrow (Monday) is critical because marketers are ready to deploy CNG, but the outcome will tell us whether the government is willing to provide the necessary support to make this initiative a success.”

“We are very confident that by deploying CNG as a substitute for PMS, the harsh effect of the petrol price increase will be significantly mitigated,” Okonkwo said.