Top insiders have revealed how leaders of the Nigeria Labour Congress betrayed the trust reposed in them by workers and citizens at large to strike a deal with the Nigerian Government that saw to the cancellation of the planned protest and industrial action scheduled for Monday (today) across the country.
Following the increase in the prices of Premium Motor Spirit widely known as petrol and electricity tariff by the President Muhammadu Buhari administration, the NLC, Trade Union Congress and other groups across the country had vowed to lead Nigerians in protest and indefinite strike action to condemn the move by the government.
The pump price of petrol was increased from N145 to N163 per litre while electricity tariff was pushed up from N30.23 for one kilowatt unit of energy per hour to N62.33 per kwh.
According to Nigerians, who were outraged by the decision, the increment of both items came at a time individuals and households were struggling to recover from months of lockdown occasioned by the Coronavirus outbreak.
The organised labour after failing to get the government to reverse its decision after initial meetings, fixed Monday for the commencement of industrial action despite a court order by Buhari’s administration restraining the NLC and TUC from going ahead with the action.
However, on Monday morning, Nigerians woke up to news of the suspension of the protest and industrial action by the organised labour.
— Sahara Reporters (@SaharaReporters) September 28, 2020
The Nigerian Government in return suspended the new electricity tariff for two weeks and established a joint Committee headed by the Minister of State for Labour and Employment, Festus Keyami, to examine the justification for the new policy.
FG & LABOUR reach agreement at 2:53am. Deregulation to stay as Govt rolls out palliatives for labour (details in 2 weeks); Electricity tariffs suspended by Govt for 2 weeks with a joint Committee headed by @fkeyamo to examine the justification for the new policy. Strike suspended pic.twitter.com/9tOTlJ9o1l
— Festus Keyamo, SAN (@fkeyamo) September 28, 2020
But fresh facts at the disposal of SaharaReporters indicate that leaders of the NLC may have sold out and struck a deal with the government that offered no benefit for the people.
According to top insiders, none of the demands tabled by labour was met by the Nigerian Government yet the NLC leaders went ahead to call off the planned strike action.
The move has raised suspicion of something changing hands and the sincerity of labour leaders to Nigerian workers and citizens in general, who look up to them to hold the government to account.
“None of their requests were met. This is an endorsement of petrol price increase for now and future rather than a pushback.
“The leadership of TUC was isolated at the last minute to achieve their dastardly act. Affiliate unions never trusted the NLC leadership and that was why they issued individual circulars. The leadership of NLC never mobilised units and affiliates even though they claimed there would be a strike. There were lots of underhand dealings between NLC leaders and governors who helped facilitate settlements. Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, too was involved.
“There wasn’t supposed to be a meeting between labour leaders and the Federal Government until 3:00pm on Monday but NLC leaders suddenly agreed to a series of meetings with the government on Sunday to kill the strike,” one source said.