The organized labour has started massive mobilization for a nationwide strike over the calls by the Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF) for the immediate removal of petrol subsidy and recommended for the new price of N380/litre and N408.5/litre. The leadership of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) warned that any attempt by the government to increase the pump price of petroleum products would be met with stiff resistance.
Labour leaders gave the warning during a virtual meeting with the National Executive Council (NEC) on Tuesday. Congress insisted that it would not accept any price increase.
The NEC leaders also deliberated on the crisis in Kaduna and the ongoing constitutional review.
A labour leader, who was at the meeting, said Nigerians will resume its suspended strike of last year without notice. He added that all the affiliate unions of the NLC have been put on notice if the government does otherwise.
He said: “We are not in support of petrol increase. All these governors, they don’t mean well for Nigeria. They have over 100 aides. They are stealing money every day; it is only the common masses they want to continue to inflict pains on. It is not fair.
“We will reject it totally. We will not accept any increase. We don’t need any further ultimatum to respond, to re-activate and resume our suspended action. We don’t need to give anybody ultimatum again. If they go into that area, we will just resume our suspended action.
“We have issued directives that all our affiliate unions should start mobilising. As soon as they increase the price of petrol, we will down tools, withdraw all economic activities.
“We don’t need to negotiate with government or write them that we are coming to meet them because the last time we met before Easter, the GMD of the NNPC came that fuel will be N212 or N208 per liter because the landing cost was N198 and we told him to go back to the drawing board; to do as others are doing.
“We told him to go and repair our refineries. That was what brought our meeting to a deadlock. Remember that after two months, they announced plans to repair the Port Harcourt refinery for $1.8 billion.
In a related development, the unionist said organised labour will not backdown on its request that the workers penciled for sack be paid their entitlements.
He said: “On Kaduna, you know how we have ended. There is a committee that is supposed to report back to the Federal Ministry of Labour and Employment between today and tomorrow.
“The meeting started today (yesterday) because the Head of Service said they normally have their meetings on Wednesday. But they have commenced their meeting. Whatever is the outcome, they will report back to Ministry of Labour and Employment and we are not going back.
“If Governor Nasir el-Rufai wants to downsize or rightsize because they don’t have resources, he should prepare the cheques of various staff he wants to lay off. He must follow due process. So, we are on it; we’re not relenting.”
“If we don’t allow it to remain on the Exclusive Legislative List, one governor can wake up and tell Labour, ‘I don’t have money to pay minimum wage, I will pay N5, 000. But, when it is on the exclusive list, there is a benchmark; you can’t come below, but you can go above.”