The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and the Trade Union Congress (TUC) have suspended the strike they scheduled to begin on Monday 28. 09. 2020.
The NLC and TUC had earlier called for a nationwide strike to protest against the increase in electricity tariff and the price of petroleum with the removal of subsidy.
The unions had voiced the numerous lamentations, concerns and hardship faced by general masses especially with the recently experienced corona virus pandemic and stated that the increase in the tariffs was insensitive and ill- timed and has further caused an increased and untold hardship on the people and the economic development of the country.
The union however suspended the action after brokering an agreement with the federal government over the electricity tariff and petrol price hikes.
After a meeting in the early hours of Monday, Chris Ngige, minister of labour and employment, read a communiqué announcing the decision reached by both parties.
According to the communique, a technical committee comprising labour leaders, government agencies and ministries will in two weeks look into issues concerning the recent electricity tariff hike so as to validate ”the basis for the new cost-reflective tariff as a result of the conflicting information from the fields which appeared different from the data presented to justify the new policy by NERC; metering deployment, challenges, timeline for massive rollout”.
“During the two weeks, the DISCOs shall suspend the application of the cost-reflective electricity tariff adjustments,” it said.
“An all-inclusive and independent review of the power sector operations as provided in the privatization MOU to be undertaken before the end of the year 2020, with labour represented.
“All parties agreed on the urgency for increasing the local refining capacity of the nation to reduce the over dependency on importation of petroleum products to ensure energy security, reduce cost of finished products, increase employment and business opportunities for Nigerians.”
The labour unions and the government also agreed on rehabilitating the nation’s refineries to reduce the cost of petrol.
The communique said: “To ensure commitment and transparency in the processes and timelines of the rehabilitation exercise, the management of NNPC has offered to integrate the national leadership of the Nigeria Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers and Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association into the steering committee already established by the corporation,”
“The Federal Government will facilitate the delivery of licensed modular and regular refineries, involvement of upstream companies in petroleum refining and establishing framework for financing in the downstream sector.”
“NNPC to expedite work on the Build, operate and transfer framework for the nation’s pipelines and strategic depots network for efficient transportation and distribution of petroleum products to match the delivery timelines of the refineries as agreed.”
Ayuba Wabba, NLC president; Quadri Olaleye, TUC president, and Festus Keyamo, minister of state for labour and employment, among others, were at the meeting.
This action of the NLC and the TUC will give some respite to the citizens, if the Federal Government adheres to the request of the unions. If after two weeks expiration date given by the union elapses, the union leaders and everyone in the country, would hope that a more peaceful and workable resolution, is reached by all parties involved, in order to create a better working and enabling environment which will also favour the sensitive needs of the already lamenting masses.