Opinion

Between Organized Labour and the Federal Govt

The earlier announcement made by the organized labour in Nigeria about their intention to go on a nationwide strike had given Nigerians hope, especially given hardship and hopelessness occasioned by the dwindling economy.

The decision to embark on this nationwide strike by the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) and the Trade Union Congress (TUC) was brought about by the recent hike in the fuel pump price and electricity tariff. The strike was billed to commence last Monday, September 28. However, Nigerians were shocked to wake up days after to the news that the warring parties had reached a compromise which led to the strike being called off.

The meeting, which was held by the Federal Government and organized labour ended with certain resolutions reached. The hike in electricity tariff was suspended for two weeks while the new pump price of petrol remained unchanged.  They reached an agreement that a technical committee on Electricity Tariff Reforms, comprising ministries, agencies, departments, NLC and TUC would work for a duration of two weeks, effective Monday, September 28, 2020, to look into the new policy in view of the need for the validation of the basis for the new cost-reflective tariff.

Nigerians are baffled that despite the whole hullabaloo by the labour leaders concerning the earlier proposed strike, the conditions they clamoured for were not met, making nonsense of the earlier noise surrounding the proposed strike.

While the government attributed the reasons for these hikes to the effect of the dreaded coronavirus pandemic, the labour leaders accused them of being insensitive to the needs of Nigerians.

But beyond this, the Federal Government should consider cutting down on the price of petrol to give Nigerians less headache.

It is however pertinent for the Federal Government to seek ways of ameliorating the plight of Nigerians by reducing the pump price of fuel to its former rate, as well as the tariff on the electricity. Nigerians are tired of the present economic recession and can do without the extra burden that is placed on them by the economic crunch in the country.

The government should not wait until the organized labour threaten to go on strike before taking remedial action. Every government ought to be sensitive to the plight of the citizenry. This is not happening in Nigeria.

On the other hand, labour leaders should also refuse to be compromised. They should stay true to their ideals and push their case confidently with the determination it requires. Nigerians are looking up to them.

We really think that nothing tangible has been achieved between the period of the proposed strike and in its aftermath. If anything, Nigerians may just have been taken for a ride.

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