Owing to growing opposition to the fuel subsidy removal by the Federal Government last week, a follow-up meeting has been convened between government officials and executives of the Trade Union Congress (TUC).
The meeting is scheduled to hold today, Sunday, at the Chief of Staff Conference Hall inside the Presidential Villa, Abuja, by 4 pm, where TUC will table a number of demands its members want the government to accede to immediately.
Already, the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) has started mobilising for industrial action slated for next Wednesday. It is not clear whether the body will be part of today’s meeting, as its members have vehemently rejected the new fuel price template released recently by the government.
TUC is asking the Federal Government to revert to the old template until negotiations with labour unions are finalised.
While addressing reporters at the end of an emergency National Executive Council (NEC) meeting on Friday in Abuja, TUC’s president, Festus Osifo, noted the body is not happy with the unilateral decision of the Federal Government to remove petroleum subsidy.
He said TUC’s expectation was that the government should have engaged organised labour first.
According to Osifo: “Having noted this, we wish to state that the NEC-in-session resolved that discussions with the Federal Government should continue while demanding that the government revert to the status quo ante.
“The status quo ante should be maintained while discussion continues, as we had a meeting with the government on Wednesday. During that discussion, they gave us a list of all the things they would do, and they also demanded to know our thinking and what we were putting up.
“We told them the things we want to put forward, we will not submit them now but put them forward to our organs to discuss and seek a mandate from them on the things we can put forward.”
Meanwhile, the TUC President strongly stated that the body’s next line of action is dependent on how the government reacts to its demands.
“We will wait till Sunday, when we will meet with the representatives of the government. Once we are done with that meeting, then the TUC is going to put its demands forward, it is how they react to those demands that will determine our next line of action,” he had stated.
Meanwhile, the management of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation Limited (NNPCL) has insisted that the Federal Government is indebted to it to the tune of N2.8 trillion and hence is incapacitated to continue to subsidise fuel products for the country.
Since the announcement by President Bola Ahmed Tinubu that the era of fuel subsidy is gone, Nigerians have been lamenting over the fuel-induced sufferings they are going through.