The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) has threatened to embark on a nationwide strike without any formal notice if there is a further increase in the pump price of fuel.
The NLC President, Joe Ajaero, said this at the ongoing African Alliance of Trade Unions meeting on Monday, August 14, 2023, in Abuja.
He revealed that the negotiations with the Federal Government were still ongoing but lamented that the palliatives to cushion the effect of the removal subsidy were yet to be put in place first.
Ajaero while reacting to the advice of the Registrar of Trade Unions of their responsibilities of protecting the interest of workers and Nigerians, urged the government to change the anti-poor and anti-workers policies.
According to him, the government must change those bad economic policies that make our wages next to nothing.
“ As we are here now, they are contemplating increasing the pump price of petroleum products but let me say this, Nigeria workers will not give any strike notice.
“If we have not addressed the consequences of the last two increases of fuel pump price, we would have woken up from asleep to hear that they have tampered with the fuel pump price again,” he said.
The NLC president, however, appealed to the Federal Government to ensure that the anti-workers policies are checked.
“If you check those policies that lead to inflation and devaluation of the currency, we will be comfortable even where we are.
“If Naira is at par with dollar today, we will ask you to leave minimum wage at N30,000. If inflation is checked to zero, we will ask you to leave things the way they are.
“But inflation is flying, and by the admittance of the National Bureau of Statistics, we have over 133 million Nigerians that are multi-dimensionally poor.
“I think these are the issues Government should address. If we go for wage increase tomorrow, the inflation that will follow suit will destroy it,” he said.
On the issue of the Inspector-General of Police(IGP) detaining the officers of the National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW) that it was unlawful.
According to him, ”the Nigerian police, the IG is now performing the duties of the Ministry of Labour.”
”The duty of the Ministry of Labour includes addressing the issue of both inter and intra-union disputes.
“It is not within the purview of the IG to go into that area. I think there is need for the Ministry of Labour to educate the police to tell them that they don’t have the right to usurp its functions.
“If they do that, the Ministry of Labour will go into extinction and there will be no basis for the Minister of Labour to remain there,” he added.
He further that it was legal for NLC to demand an apology from the IG of police for arresting or even contemplated arresting the president of the NURTW on the eve of the union’s election.
He added that it is unheard of in the history of this country. And never again should not be entertained,” he said.