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Fuel price, electricity tariff hikes: Labour blames FG’s insincerity for walkout

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By Ben Adoga

Organised Labour has accused the Federal Government of insincerity in the dialogue of the issues of fuel price hike and the hike in electricity tariff. Recall that the NLC on Sunday walked out of the meeting with the Minister of Labour and Productivity, Dr. Chris Ngige. The meeting was scheduled to discuss the hike in petrol and electricity tariff.

In a press statement jointly signed by the NLC and the Trade Union Congress, TUC, both Labour organisations accused the government of insincerity.

They said the government was insensitive to the issues, hence they staged a walk.

The statement read in part:

“At our meeting on Sunday, we had prioritised as urgent. However, the Honourable Minister of Labour, Dr. Chris Ngige did not think it was important. Efforts to make him see reason failed. Given the tense situation and government’s manifest insensitivity, Labour had no option other than a walk out.

“From the foregoing, it is clear that government is not prepared for a sincere and honest dialogue on finding a lasting solution to the twin issues of petroleum price increase and electricity tariffs. And this is in spite of the patriotic understanding of labour which has drawn the flak of the public which think we are not doing enough to protect their interests on the issues of petroleum products and electricity tariffs.”

Recall the that the NLC had given government an ultimatum in September and had arranged a strike to commence from September 28, 2020.

The Minister of Labour, Dr. Chris Ngige reached out to them for a dialogue which is they obliged. Along the line, Labour thinks the Minister is playing games with them.

Labour stated further: “The terms and conditions for putting the protest on hold were clearly spelt out in the Memorandum of Understanding. The conditions include fixing the existing refineries, entrusting them to efficient managements, creating an enabling environment for new refineries, and doing all positive things that would ensure enhanced and sustainable local refining capacity.

“Furthermore, Government/Labour Committee was setup to review the increase in electricity tariff.

“Nothing in the agreement gives government license to embark upon pain-inducing and life-crippling increase in pump price of products at this difficult time. Whilst the Committee was still working the government had not taken any step to revitalise the local refineries and has flagrantly refused to discuss this with the unions in the oil and gas sector as agreed.

“Government’s conduct was not only a violation of fundamental terms of its agreement with labour, it was in bad fait calculated to frustrate the process of an amicable resolution.”

The Labour joint statement was signed by Comrade Emmanuel Ugboaja, General Secretary, NLC and Comrade Musa Lawal Ozigi, Secretary General, Trade Union Congress (TUC).

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