By Dipo Olowookere
The organised labour in Nigeria has called off the proposed industrial action aimed to kick against the recent hike in the prices of petrol and electricity.
The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), the Trade Union Congress (TUC) and other labour unions had asked their members to embark on indefinite strike action from Monday, September 28, 2020, in protest of the increments by the federal government at the beginning of this month.
The government had explained that it increased the price of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) in line with the deregulation policy aimed to stop payment of subsidy, while the price of electricity was raised to improve service delivery.
But Nigerians rejected the explaining, while the President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration maintained that it was the right decision to take at this critical time the nation was resuming economic activities after it was locked down by COVID-19 for weeks.
The organised labour said it was starting a nationwide protest from today unless the government reverses the hike in prices, which has made life more difficult for the citizens.
The federal government, fearing that another shut down of the nation’s economy could spell doom, quickly called for talks with the labour unions.
A meeting was earlier scheduled for this afternoon between the government and labour, but after the Speaker of House of Representatives held one with the unions on Sunday afternoon, the federal government called for discussions with the unions on Sunday night.
The meeting started by 7pm and by 2.53am, the federal government said it has agreed to suspend the increase in the price of electricity for two weeks, while a committee would be set up to look into the matter.
The Minister of State for Labour, Mr Festus Keyamo, while announcing the outcome of the meeting, noted that the labour has agreed to suspend the planned action, though the hike in the pump price remains.
“Deregulation to stay as Govt rolls out palliatives for labour (details in 2 weeks); Electricity tariffs suspended by Govt for 2 weeks with a joint committee headed by @fkeyamo to examine the justification for the new policy. Strike suspended,” he announced.
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