The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) has threatened to embark on strike if there is a further increase in the pump price of petrol without the Federal Government addressing the consequences of the last two increases.
Labour said no notice would be given if its members wake up to a new pump price of petrol.
President of NLC, Joe Ajaero said this yesterday during the African alliance of trade unions executives meeting in Abuja.
The Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPCL)has increased the pump price of petrol since the removal of petrol subsidy twice.
Nigerians buy petrol products at N617 per litre, depending on the part of the country.
Following the hike, the organised labour staged a one-day protest nationwide to draw the attention of the government to the rising cost of living.
The protest was suspended following a meeting with President Bola Tinubu by labour.
There had been reports of a further increase of the products by independent marketers, citing the fall in the value of the Naira to a dollar at N950 in the parallel market.
Ajaero said: “As we are here, they are contemplating increasing the pump price of petroleum products and the Federal Ministry of Labour and Employment, for some time now, will only go to the Federal Ministry of Justice to come up with injunctions to hold the hands of labour not to respond.
“Let me say this, workers will not give any notice if we have not addressed the consequences of the last two increases; if we wake up from our sleep to hear that they have tempered with prices of petroleum products. They have started floating ideas of a likely increase in the pump price of petroleum products.”
Ajaero noted that if the Federal Government was able to tame inflation and the falling naira, workers would be happy to retain the N30, 000 minimum wage.
Open Letter ESQ
He said: “If you check those policies that lead to inflation and devaluation of the currency even where we are we will be comfortable.
“If naira is at par with dollar today (yesterday) we will ask you to leave the minimum wage at N30, 000. It will make sense. If inflation is checked to zero we will ask you (federal government) to leave the minimum where we are but if inflation is flying, even by the admittance of the National Bureau of Statistics, I think we should address these issues.
“If we go for a wage increase tomorrow, the inflation that will come up will destroy it (wage).”
Director, Trade Unions Services and Industrial Relations, Federal Ministry of Labour and Employment, Emmanuel Igbinosun urged Labour unions to continue to prioritise and advocate for the protection and enhancement of workers’ rights.
He also called on union leaders to recognise the benefits of economic growth for the benefit of both workers and the overall economy.
Igbinosun said: “The leadership of workers unions should continue to prioritise and advocate for the protection and enhancement of workers rights. This may include issues such as fair wages, safe working conditions, reasonable working hours, protection against discrimination and harassment, job security and the right to collective bargaining.
“Also, union leadership should recognise the benefits of economic growth for the benefit of both workers and the overall economy. Comrade leadership should work towards fostering a supportive environment that encourages economic growth such as advocating for increased investments in infrastructure, promoting skilled workforce development and supporting fair trade policies that protect local industries and jobs.
“Leaders and workers unions should prioritise social justice and equity in their decision making and advocacy effort. You should all strive to reduce income inequality, promote equal opportunities for all workers regardless of gender, race, ethnicity or other characteristics and support initiatives that address social and economic disparities. Such efforts contribute to a more inclusive and fair society, enhancing workers overall well-being.”
General Secretary, Ghana Trade Union Congress, Anthony Yaw Baah recounted how trade unions led the struggles for the emancipation of Africa from colonialists.
He lamented the regression of African society especially in the hands of politicians.
“It is time for us to come together again to take our countries, and our societies from our politicians. The only way we can do that is to come together.
“The unions allow themselves to be weakened; the political leaders will have their way and enrich themselves, their families and their grandchildren. It is our duty and responsibility to ensure that this rich continent gets its dignity back,” he said.
He said the Ghana TUC will put efforts to build the African alliance.