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Published On: Tue, Sep 29th, 2020

Why NLC, TUC suspended nationwide industrial action for 2 weeks

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Organised Labour has suspended its planned nationwide industrial action for two weeks over the recent hike in electricity tariff and fuel pump price in the country.
Sen. Christ Ngige, Minister of Labour and Employment said this while reading a joint communique on the resolution of the Trade Dispute between the Federal Government and the organised Labour on Monday in Abuja.
News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and the Trade Union Congress (TUC) had threatened to embark on industrial action over the Federal Government’s refusal to reverse the hike in electricity tariff and fuel pump price on Monday, Sept. 28.
NAN recalls that the removal of the subsidy had led to an increase in electricity tariff from about N30.23 to about N62.33 per kwh, while the price of petrol was increased from about N145 to about N161 per litre.
Ngige said the resolution reached with the organised labour was an outcome of a fruitful deliberation.
According to him, on the issue of electricity tariff reforms, the parties agreed to set up a Technical Committee comprising Ministries, Departments, Agencies, NLC and TUC, which will work for a duration of two weeks effective from Monday, Sept. 28.
“The committee is 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.
“The technical committee membership included Mr Festus Keyamo, Minister of State Labour and Employment, as chairman, Mr Godwin Jedy-Agba, Minister of State Power, Mr James Momoh, Chairman National Electricity Regulatory Commission,
“Others were Mr Ahmad Rufai Zakari, SA to Mr President on Infrastructure, Dr Onoho’Omhen Ebhohimhen, Member, NLC, Mr Joe Ajaero NLC, Mr Chris Okonkwo, TUC and a representative of DISCOS.”
The minister said the committee should also look at the different Electricity Distribution Company (DISCOs) and their different electricity tariff ‘vis-à-vis NERC’s order and mandate.
Ngige, on the issue of the downstream sector deregulation, said all parties agreed on the need to expand the local refining capacity of the nation to reduce the over dependency on importation of petroleum products
He said NNPC was directed to expedite the rehabilitation of the nation’s four refineries located in Port Harcourt, Warri and Kaduna and to achieve 50 per cent completion for Port Harcourt by December 2021, while timelines and delivery for Warri and Kaduna will be established by the inclusive Steering Committee.
According to him, the national leadership of the Nigeria Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG) and Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association (PENGASSAN) will be integrated into the Steering Committee already established by the Corporation.
“The Federal Government and its agencies are to ensure delivery of one million CNG/LPG AutoGas conversion kits, storage skids and dispensing units under the Nigeria Gas Expansion Programme by December 2021 to enable delivery of cheaper transportation and power fuel.
“A Governance Structure that will include representatives of organised Labour shall be established for timely delivery,” he said.
Ngige also said on the issue of general intervention that the government will facilitate the removal of tax on minimum wage as a way of cushioning the impacts of the policy on the lowest vulnerable.
He said the Federal Government would give the labour unions 133 CNG/LPG driven mass transit buses immediately and ‘provide to the major cities across the Country on a scale up basis, thereafter to all States and Local Governments before December 2021.’

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