By Williams Anuku, Abuja
The Trade Union Congress (TUC) of Nigeria has written a save-our-soul letter to President Muhammadu Buhari, saying its members can no longer bear the excruciating pains of the recent increase in fuel and electricity tariff.
In a joint statement by President of the Union, Quadri Olaleye and Secretary General, Musa Lawal on Monday, they appealed to the federal government to reverse the policy in the interest of workers and Nigerians in general
The Union wondered why government would suddenly announce the increases without adequate consultations and putting palliatives in place.
“We bring you warm greetings from the National Executive Council of the Trade Union Congress of Nigeria (TUC), and write this letter to draw your Excellency’s attention once again to earlier communication on the following salient issues.
“We have observed the gradual and steady annihilation of Nigeria and Nigerians in the light of government actions for the umpteenth time. Some of the issues that have become worrisome to the working class, their families and the masses include:
“Sudden Increase in petroleum Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) Products pump price without any definitive and concrete efforts to make our refineries functional, which has a devastating multiplier effect on the working people and their families.
“Increase in Electricity TARRIFS without proper consultation and consideration of the effect of COVID – 19, commensurate electricity supply, non-provision of prepaid meters and other biting economic realities.
“Non implementation of the negotiated National Minimum Wage by most of the state governments, and federal government’s inability to create and sustain salary date and calendar to ensure transparency.
“Corruption in government agencies such as the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) , Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) and the Federal Ministry of Health over failure to explain and lack of transparency on how funds received in the fight against COVID-19 was spent among others.
“Loss of jobs across the industries, high cost of living and, businesses not moving in the light of the effects of Covid-19. Palliative that never got to those that needed them etc.
“The TUC at the just concluded meeting of its organs have thus resolved as follows: Government should take immediate steps to: Reverse the hike in prices as it affects Electricity, Petrol and all other social services in the country to status quo ante (prior to increase) within (7) seven days.
“Provide adequate and quality healthcare and education for all to save the poor and the vulnerable at all levels.
“Your excellency, we can no longer bear the burden of these problems. These demands are made in good faith, and to save the dying masses and the vulnerable in our society. In the event of not showing empathy for this class of people by adhering to above demands, we shall, together with our Civil Societies and allies ,sympathetic to the suffering masses of our people commence an indefinite industrial action and national protest from Wednesday 23rd September 2020”.
The threat comes as the Federal Government has scheduled a meeting between all Labour stakeholders, the Civil Society Organisations and the supervisory Ministry for today, Tuesday at the presidential villa.
The meeting, according to the Minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige is to enable all aggrieved Unions air their views regarding government emerging policies, especially the increase in fuel and electricity tariff.