Nigeria’s organized labor is mobilizing for a general strike on Monday to protest over the federal government’s refusal to reverse the hikes in electricity tariff and fuel price.
Ayuba Wabba, president of the Nigeria Labor Congress (NLC), said at a news conference in the country’s capital Abuja on Tuesday that after a council meeting, the organization resolved to reject the hike in electricity tariff by almost 100 percent as well as in fuel price in the name of deregulation.
Last week, the NLC’s central working committee issued a two-week ultimatum to the federal government to reverse the recent hikes in electricity tariff and fuel price, saying otherwise the country’s workers may down tools.
“This decision, alongside other decisions of the government including the increase of VAT by 7.5 percent, other numerous charges by commercial banks on depositors, without any explanation will further impoverish Nigerian workers and citizenry, including their families,” said the labor leader.
The moves are not only “ill-timed” but also counterproductive amid the COVID-19 pandemic, he said, adding that “Sept. 28 will be a date that those actions will be challenged by Nigerian workers, our civil society allies, and also other labor centers.”
Meanwhile, the Trade Union Congress of Nigeria (TUC) has postponed its planned nationwide protest scheduled for Wednesday till Monday.
The union decided to hold a unified protest with the NLC, said Gbenga Ekundayo, TUC chairman in Lagos on Tuesday.
Ekundayo told reporters the government and organized labor have yet to reach an agreement as regards the price of electricity and petrol.
Labor unions have been protesting the price hikes in electricity and fuel in the middle of the economic hardships from the pandemic, but authorities maintained the new rates are in the best interests of Nigerians.