Onyebuchi Ezigbo in Abuja
Organised labour under the auspices of the Trade Union Congress (TUC) has given the federal government a seven-day deadline to immediately reverse the hike in prices of electricity, petrol and all other social services in the country to status quo ante or it will
commence an indefinite industrial action and national protest from Wednesday, September 23, 2020.
It said that it had just concluded a meeting of its organs where it resolved to issue the strike ultimatum.
In a letter addressed to President Muhammadu Buhari and dated September 14, TUC said its members and indeed Nigerians cannot bear the burden any longer.
The letter jointly signed by TUC President, Quadri Olaleye, and Secretary General, Musa Lawal M. Ozigi and made available to THISDAY on Tuesday, said that it has observed the gradual and steady annihilation of Nigeria and Nigerians in the light of government actions for the umpteenth time.
It said that there has been loss of jobs across industries, high cost of living and businesses not moving in the light of the effects of Covid-19.
It regretted that pledges by the federal government and palliatives never got to those that needed them.
It said the federal government should 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 seven days, provide adequate and quality healthcare and education for all to save the poor and the vulnerable at all levels.
“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 letter reads: “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 TARIFFS 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.”