By Victor Ahiuma-Young & Johnbosco Agbakwuru
Trade Union Congress of Nigeria, TUC, Monday, petitioned President Muhammadu Buhari, demanding immediate reversal of the hikes in the pump price of petrol and electricity tariff, among other demands, in the next seven days, or face indefinite industrial action.
In a letter dated September 14, President and Secretary General of TUC, Quadri Olaleye and Musa Lawal, respectively, insisted that Nigerians could no longer bear the burden of harsh and anti-poor polices.
The mourned “the gradual and steady annihilation of Nigeria and Nigerians in the light of government actions for the umpteenth time.”
In the petition entitled “We cannot bear the burden any longer, issuance of seven days ultimatum,” TUC also complained of non-implementation of the N30,000 new minimum wage, alleged corruption in government agencies, such as the Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC, and Nigeria Centre for Disease Control, NCDC, loss of jobs across the industries, high cost of living and, businesses not moving in the light of the effects of COVID-19.
The petition read in part: “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 tariff 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.”
The petition stated that TUC, at the just-concluded meeting of its organs, demanded that “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 seven days.
“Your Excellency, we can no longer bear the burden of these avoidable 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 society allies, sympathetic to the suffering masses, commence an indefinite industrial action and national protest from Wednesday, September 23.”