Labour Leaders Insist On Fuel Price Hike Reversal Before Meeting with ‘Insincere’ FG
Labour leaders in Nigeria have accused the federal government of insincerity in negotiations, saying they have lost trust in anything the government says, prompting them to walk out of a meeting organized by the government on the increment of the petroleum pump price and hike in electricity tariff on Sunday.
Reports said they insisted that before they proceed with the meeting, government should revert to the old price of petrol, refusing all entreaties by the government team led by the secretary to the government of the federation, Boss Mustapha and the minister of labour and employment, Senator Chris Ngige to to listen to their presentation.
Nigerian Sketch learnt that disagreement began when the minister of labour refused to commence the meeting with discussions about the petrol price hike, telling the labour team that he was in charge and that no one should decide for him how to handle the meeting.
The labour representatives were angered and they left the meeting venue, the Old Banquet Hall, Presidential Villa, Abuja.
Speaking to journalists soon after, the general secretary of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Comrade Emma Ugbaja said, “We have had some understanding over time, but while these meetings were ongoing, we were suddenly slapped with a new increase in petroleum price and we felt that was beyond what we had as an understanding with the government.
“And we felt that should be the first item for understanding today. But surprisingly the government team felt otherwise, they felt the issue of imaginary palliatives should be discussed before what is causing the need for the palliatives should be discussed.
“And we felt that was putting the cart before the horse. We want to address the issue on petroleum pricing before we begin to think whether there is need for palliatives or not and on that strength we felt we cannot continue with a meeting whose agenda is wrongly prioritized.
“When the Government is willing to take it the way it is, we are ever ready to engage and to have things properly determined”, he explained.
He said further that “We have to go back to our organs to agree on the way forward, because we have leadership, we are known and clearly with that position we have to tell our members what the situation is.”
The Trade Union Congress (TUC) president, Comrade Quadri Olaleye said the government was not sincere with the labour in the discussion.
He lamented that labour leaders cannot walk freely on the roads because workers accused them that they had betrayed their trust.