Labour suspends strike as FG suspends electricity tariff

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Labour to commence nationwide strike in Nigeria

Labour unions have suspended its planned nationwide strike billed to start on Monday, September 28, in protest against the hike in pump price of fuel and electricity tariff.

There were indications that the Federal Government and NLC might reach an agreement to avert the looming nationwide strike following meetings after meetings on Sunday.

The meeting, which started at about 8:30 pm on Sunday and spilled over till Monday morning had Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha; Minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige, Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed; Minister of State for Labour and Employment, Festus Keyamo; Minister of State for Power, Godwin Jeddy-Agba and Group Managing Director of the NNPC.

The Minister of State, Labour and Employment, Festus Keyamo(SAN) tweeted that the industrial action by labour unions had been suspended.

“Federal Government and labour unions reach agreement at 2:53am,” he wrote on his Twitter account at 3:40am.

“Deregulation to stay as government rolls out palliatives for labour (more details in two weeks). Electricity tariffs suspended by government for two weeks with a joint Committee headed by Festus Keyamo, the Minister of State for Labour to examine the justification for the new policy. Strike suspended,” he said.

Electricity review suspended

A communiqué, read by the minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige, after the meeting, disclosed that government agreed to suspend electricity tariff hike for two weeks pending when a committee set up would examine the justifications for the new policy in view of the need for the validation of the basis for the new cost-reflective tariff as a result of the conflicting information from the fields which appeared different from the data presented to justify the new policy by NERC.

He, however, noted that total deregulation in the downstream sector remains, adding that palliatives would be offered to Nigerian workers to cushion the effects of burden.

“After exhaustive deliberations on the issues raised by Labour Centres, the FGN stated that it has fashioned out palliatives that would ameliorate the sufferings that Nigerian workers may experience as a result of the cost-reflective Electricity Tariff adjustments and deregulation of the downstream sector of the Petroleum Industry.

“The palliatives will be in the areas of transport, power, housing, agriculture and humanitarian support.

After thorough debates and negotiations on various issues raised by all parties, the following resolutions were reached and mutually adopted: “The parties agreed to set up a Technical Committee comprising Ministries, Departments, Agencies, NLC and TUC, which will work for a duration of two (2) weeks effective Monday 28th September 2020, to examine:

“The justifications for the new policy in view of the need for the validation of the basis for the new cost reflective tariff as a result of the conflicting information from the fields which appeared different from the data presented to justify the new policy by NERC;

“Metering deployment, challenges, timeline for massive roll – out,” Ngige said while reading the communiqué.

Labour unions not backing down

President of Trade Union Congress, Quadri Olaleye, explained that the organised labour only suspended the planned strike action and protest for two weeks, not that it has called off the strike.

He charged the federal government to fulfil all its promises as highlighted in the communiqué, saying it would not give any notification before any mass action if the promised are not fulfilled.