Labour unions give federal government 14-Day ultimatum over non-implementation of subsidy agreement

The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and the Trade Union Congress (TUC) have given the Federal Government a 14-day ultimatum to implement the 16-point agreement reached after the removal of the petrol subsidy. 

The labor unions cited the dire economic consequences of the subsidy removal and the devaluation of the naira, accusing the government of neglecting the welfare of Nigerians and workers. 

The ultimatum is in response to the government's non-implementation of the agreement, and it is a prelude to a potential nationwide strike if their demands are not met.

In a statement signed by the leaders of the two labour unions, Joe Ajaero and Festus Usifo on Thursday, February 8, 2024, the organised labour expressed sadness that despite the passage of time, “the majority of these crucial agreements remain unmet or negligibly addressed, indicating a blatant disregard for the principles of good faith, welfare and rights of Nigerian workers and Nigerians.”

The organised labour said that it is giving the Federal Government 14 days starting from tomorrow February 9 to February 14, 2024, to fulfil its part of the understanding with the labour unions.

The labour unions said that the agreements which were reached with the Federal Government were focused on addressing the massive suffering and the general harsh socioeconomic consequences of the ill-conceived and ill-executed IMF/World Bank-induced hike in the price of PMS and the devaluation of the Naira.

It said that the dual policies have had dire economic consequences for the masses and workers of Nigeria.

“Widespread Hunger is now ravishing millions of Nigerians, with the workers’ purchasing power significantly eroded, while insecurity has assumed an increasing dimension. Nigerians are left wondering where their next meals will come from and what tomorrow might bring.

“The level of panic and anxiety amongst the populace has become nightmarish unfortunately, in the midst of all these, it appears our government is bereft of appropriate measures to ameliorate the huge burden it has foisted on the citizenry.

“We wish to state that these agreements, which encompass a wide range of issues crucial to the well-being of Nigerian masses and workers, have not been honored as pledged by the Federal Government.

“From wage awards, palliative adjustments to improved access to public utilities; to the meddlesomeness in the internal affairs of the National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW) and the interference by the Lagos State Government in union activities, the case of illegal and unlawful proscription of Road Transport Employers Association of Nigeria (RTEAN).

“The government’s failure to uphold its end of the bargain is deeply regrettable and unacceptable to the working people and the citizenry,” the statement reads.

It added: “Constrained by this development and recognizing the urgency of the situation and the imperative of ensuring the protection and defense of the rights and dignity of Nigerian workers and citizens, the NLC and TUC hereby issue a stern ultimatum to the Federal Government, to honour their part of the understanding within 14 Days from tomorrow, the 9th day of February 2024.”

Labour noted that it is regrettable that it is compelled to resort to such measures, but the persistent neglect of the welfare of citizens and Nigerian workers and the massive hardship leaves it with no choice.

“Therefore, everything must be done within the two weeks to avoid a situation where we may be compelled to take appropriate steps to protect Nigerian workers and masses,” they said.

It called upon the Federal Government to honor its commitments without delay, adding that the time for empty promises and excuses has passed.

“Our patience has worn thin and the situation has become unbearable for workers and masses all over the federation. Further silence amounts to committing mass suicide and this remains the only feasible course of action left for us and Nigerians to compel remedial action by the government.

“We are committed to this resolve towards salvaging Nigerian workers and masses from the apparent insensitivity and lethargy of those in the corridors of power who are supposed to be the bastion of public trust.”
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