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Nigeria's labour congress threatens indefinite strike over fuel price hikes

Nigeria's labour congress threatens indefinite strike over fuel price hikes

Nigeria

As more Nigerians continue to react on the recent increase in fuel prices, the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) has ordered the government to revert to the original price by Tuesday or face indefinite strike from workers.

The labour union made this announcement in a meeting attended by major civil society organisations based in the capital, Abuja.

President of NLC, Ayuba Wabba said the government has less than three days to respond to their demand.

We were taken aback and see the astronomical increase. That is our position. We deserve some respect because we are Nigerians and we all own Nigeria.

“In the event that government refuses to accede to these demands on or before 12 midnight on Tuesday, May 17th, 2016, the Nigeria Labour Congress, the Trade Union Congress, and their civil society allies resolve to commence the following action with effect from Wednesday, May 18th, 2016: One: Mobilize to the streets, across the country, ordinary and helpless Nigerians to whom they owe the duty of protection. Two: Shut down all banks, public and private offices as well as markets (and) Three: Commence indefinite nationwide action.”

Authorities in the country have increased the fuel pump price from N86 and N86.50k to N145 per litre.

NLC leaders said they are against the price increase and would mobilise workers for a nationwide protest on Wednesday to demand that the government reverse the action.

They urged Nigerians to stockpile food ahead of the protest against fuel subsidy removal.

The labour group complained that the way the pump price was increased without consultation with labour showed that the government has no regard for workers.

“Less than 2 hours after we left that place, there was a breaking news. We were taken aback. And see the astronomical increase. That is our position. We deserve some respect. Because we are Nigerians and we all own Nigeria,” said president of the Trade Union Congress, Boboyi Kaigama.

The union leaders reiterated that the president Muhammadu Buhari who they supported in the last general elections, did not accord them the expected respect as workers.

“Between Wednesday and today, when the new pump price was announced, the Naira has further crashed against the dollar, first to 340 on Thursday, then 365 on Friday morning, and 385 by the close of business on Friday. All within 48 hours. At this rate, we believe it will not take long before the Naira becomes entirely useless against the dollar,” said Wabba.

President Buhari last year during the electioneering campaign had promised that if elected president, he would not remove fuel subsidy.

The president had maintained after his election that there was no subsidy in the country’s petroleum product price regime adding that he did not see how its removal would be beneficial to the ordinary Nigerian.