An emergency meeting of the National Executive Committee of the Nigeria Labour Congress was held on Friday of which the Congress decided to embark on a “total strike” on Wednesday to protest the decision of the Federal Government to increase in the fuel pump price to N145 per litre.
The meeting which took place at Olaitan Oyerinde Hall of the Labour House Abuja, started at about 4pm and was chaired by Mr. Ayuba Wabba, the President of the NLC and also had in attendance all the major civil society organisations based in Abuja.
A senior leader of the Congress who spoke to journalists said that the leaders of the NLC decided to condemn the decision by the Federal Government which did not consider the poor masses and as such, a nationwide protest on Wednesday was fixed to force the Government to reverse the action of the pump price increasek. He said that the protest was fixed for Wednesday to allow time for the Federal Government to renege on the price increase.
Mr Ayuba Wabba also spoke to reporters saying:
“Comrades, we have had our meeting, but we cannot talk to you now. We have a press briefing for tomorrow at 12noon. We will address the press jointly with the TUC and our position will be made known to the media and the country.”
A source present at the meeting said the decision was unanimous and unopposed and that the union expressed their frustration at the Government who did not accord them any respect by consulting them before taking the action.
“We told you that the meeting was going to be smooth and short. The fact is that the people are not happy.
“The NEC is even saddened by the way the increase was announced; there is no respect, no consultation. Look, this was not the case in 2012 under Jonathan. I remember on that night of the dinner, Okonjo-Iweala did her presentation showing us her statistics and the President spoke to us. Yet in spite of that we turned him down.
“But in this case, there is no regard for anybody at all yet we worked for this government.
“If you are insisting that the meeting was stormy, how come that it did not last for a long time? The fact is that after the introduction which took some time, the NEC tabled the issue and a decision was taken unanimously to embark on a national strike on Wednesday. It is a total strike not a warning strike.”
Bobboi Kaigama, the President of the Trade Union Congress addressed journalists after its National Executive Council meeting in Lagos which held on Friday. He said:
“The NEC-in session rejected in its entirety the astronomical increase in the price of petrol from N86.5 per litre to N145 per litre and demanded that the government should revert to the old price regime with immediate effect.
“The NEC-in-session gave the Federal Government up till Wednesday, May 16, 2016, to invite the leadership of labour for discussion aimed at determining the appropriate way forward.
“The NEC-in-session also directed the leadership of the TUC to interface with the NLC and the civil society allies to work out plans that would be put in place to protest the insensitive fuel price hike should the government fail to meet on Wednesday, May 18, 2016.”
Mr. Sunday Salako, the Deputy President of the Trade Union who spoke on the sidelines of the meeting said that the Federal Government didn’t not even seek the opinion on the workers before embarking on such a huge action.
“We were not consulted. If we were consulted, we would have made our input. If there is need for any deviation from the old price, all stakeholders will sit down and we will discuss to fashion a way out.
“There is a difference between a meeting and a briefing. What was done was a briefing. You invite the people and sit them down and read out what you have prepared. Is that a meeting?”