The Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) has given the federal government a 96-hour ultimatum to rescind the deregulation of the downstream sector of the petroleum industry and revert to the initial petrol price of N86.50 per litre or face a total shutdown of the economy from Wednesday morning, May 18, 2016.
Speaking on Saturday after their meeting at the Labour House, Abuja, the NLC President, Ayuba Wabba, said if the government failed to accede to their demands by midnight Tuesday, the workers would have no option than to call out their members on an indefinite strike.
“Since there has not been any increase in salaries, wages or pensions of workers in the past five years, and in the face of devaluations, spiraling inflation and other vagaries of the economy, the increase in fuel price is unrealistic, unaffordable, unacceptable, and is thus rejected.”
“It is evident that the neo-liberal forces in the government have taken over, and we should expect more inhumane policies which will further degrade the living standard of the average Nigerian. The punitive electricity tariff and PMS product prices may just be teasers,” Mr. Wabba said.
“The price hike from N86:50 to N145, representing 67.63% increase, is the height of insensitivity and impunity as there was no previous consultation with stake holders, especially the organized labour, or any justification for this reckless decision other than the fact that government believes it is accountable to no one,” he added.
Meanwhile, the organised labour also revealed that it will join hands with the Trade Union Congress (TUC) to lead Nigerian workers and their civil society allies to shut down the country if the federal government failed to reverse the price increase.
“The Congress gave the government till late night on Tuesday within which to reverse the increased price of petrol and the electricity tariff, or face a total nationwide strike.”
“The NLC has deliberately delayed their press conference till today in order to liaise with their TUC counterpart, harmonise their positions and jointly address the media”, a source told Daily Trust.