Fuel Price Hike: Crack In Labour Camp Weakens Planned Strike
By Micheal Oche
NLC, TUC lobby airports, banks, schools to shut down
A major crack in the organised labour movement in the country may limit the success of the planned nationwide strike over the federal government’s deregulation of the petroleum sector, LEADERSHIP Sunday has observed.
The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Trade Union Congress of Nigeria (TUC) at a press briefing yesterday, advised Nigerians to stock sufficient food items that would last for a while as offices, markets and schools would remain closed for the period of the strike, beginning from Wednesday.
However, it was observed during the briefing that the NLC and TUC had yet to harmonise with its affiliate unions in the oil sector, NUPENG and PENGASSAN, both of which had earlier endorsed the federal government’s deregulation move.
LEADERSHIP Sunday recalls that NUPENG and PENGASSAN, the two major unions in the oil and gas sector had on Friday, endorsed the removal of petrol subsidy by the federal government.
Asked during yesterday’s briefing if NUPENG had changed its position on the endorsement, the union’s president, Olabode Johnson, said NUPENG was yet to harmonise with the NLC and TUC.
NLC President, Ayuba Wabba, said NLC, TUC and other civil society allies were not unaware of the positions taken by the unions in the oil and Gas Industry but added that a process of engagement would be put in place in order to ensure the success of the struggle to protect the overall interest of the Nigerian people.”
Speaking further, Wabba urged the federal government to revert to the old price regime in order to reduce the suffering of the people and added that in the event that government fails to accede to these demands on or before 12 midnight on Tuesday, May17, 2016, the labour will with effect from Wednesday, May 18, 2016 among others,
“Commence indefinite nationwide strike action.”
Also yesterday in Lagos, the Joe Ajaero faction of the NLC at an emergency CWC meeting called on the federal government to as a matter of urgency reverse the fuel price before midnight on Tuesday May 17, 2016, failing which the economy would be shut down.
A communique issued at the end of the meeting urged the federal Government to convoke a meeting of all relevant stakeholders if it is desirous of taking any action in the industry with far reaching consequences on the citizenry., saying, “government must engage the core stakeholders including the leadership of the industrial Unions in the Oil and Gas sector and the NLC that represents them.”