NLC schedules CWC meeting for Wednesday Over Electricity and Fuel Price Increases

“Labour takes one battle at a time; it does not make an announcement without backing its action,”
Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC)

As public outcry continues to trail the recent rise in electricity tariffs and an increase in fuel prices, the Nigeria Labor Congress (NLC) convened Wednesday's meeting of its Central Working Committee (CWC).

The meeting is being called after President Muhammadu Buhari, directed LaboUr and Jobs Minister Dr Chris Ngige to meet with Labor stakeholders, particularly Labor unions, over his government's efforts.

Also, Buhari ordered the minister to open the books for them and show them the government's finances and how it struggled to cope with the current economic situation.

THE GAZETTE NIGERIA heard on Sunday night that the NLC called its CWC meeting on Wednesday to take action on the recent rises in electricity and fuel prices.

The NLC had opposed the price increase and vowed to organize measures to demonstrate against this mysterious proposal, announcing that the congress would call its various organs meetings to respond effectively to the issue.

Speaking with THE GAZETTE NIGERIA, NLC Chief, Comrade Ayuba Wabba cautioned that labour leadership can not continue to ensure industrial peace and harmony in all sectors.

Describing the rise, the third as a height of insensitivity in the last three months and taking Nigerians for a ride, he pointed out that the rise has led to hyperinflation, while prices of goods and services have skyrocketed.

Wabba said:

“What may happen also is that we must have to organize actions to protest against this mysterious policy because if within three months, they have increased the pump price of petroleum product three times, nobody knows what will happen before the end of the year,” Wabba said.

“This is a very pathetic situation that we are in now, therefore, while condemning this round of increase, which is insensitive to the plight of Nigerians and the condition of Nigerians, we must warn, that we cannot continue to guarantee industrial peace and harmony in all our sectors.

“It ought not to be so, and we have no reason as a country to be in this precarious situation if we get our thinking cap right.”

Wabba said Nigerians, and the working people in particular, were already on an edge and it just takes a little for the explosion.

In addition, he added that the day's government intentionally forced Nigerians to respond to the people's plight through its anti-people policies and insensitivity.

The NLC President said:
“First is that it is the height of insensitivity and taken Nigerians actually for a ride for three increases to have happened in quick succession under three months. This has led to hyperinflation, in fact, all prices of goods and services have gone up including transportation and certainly, it is like adding salt to injury.

“So, while condemning this in the strongest term, NLC and its allies certainly take these rounds of increase as part of the exploitative tendencies, that is targeted against the poor in this precarious time.

“Therefore, we reject it in its entirety and we warn the government not to take Nigerians actually for a ride because we know that with this challenge now, the cost of goods and services will skyrocket. Already, how much is a bag of rice? It is more than a minimum wage now.

“NLC will issue a formal statement to condemn all of these. Beyond even issuing statement and condemnation, because it is like the government has become used to condemnation. What may happen also is that we must have to organize actions to protest against this mysterious policy.

“That is why I say Nigerians were already on the edge, especially the working people who depend on fixed wages. They are already on the edge and many of them cannot actually survive and take care of their family.”

Comrade Wabba also said on the weekend that the organized labour would soon emerge with a stance on increasing fuel and electricity prices.

He said that before the Central Working Committee (CWC) convened and decided on suitable measures, the organized labour would not protest.

“Labour takes one battle at a time; it does not make an announcement without backing its action,” said the labour leader who spoke with NAN.

He acknowledged that NLC had remained consistent with neo-liberal policies, and would take sufficient action on the increases to achieve the desired outcome.

He also said it was high time Nigeria began local processing of goods to address import challenges.

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