Labour begins nationwide strike Monday

Labour leaders singing solidarity song before the commencement of the meeting with president Goodluck Jonathan

Organised labour, represented by the leadership of the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) and Trade Union Congress (TUC) rose from its emergency meeting in Abuja today with a demand on the Federal Government to reverse its contentious policy of withdrawing petrol subsidy or face the wrath of workers through a nationwide strike.

Government’s New Year day announcement cutting subsidy on petrol has since sent prices of the commodity spiraling from N65 per litre to between N138 and N141 in some urban cities, and as high as N200 per litre in far-flung areas across the country.

Expectedly, the price hike has affected the price of all other services dependent on petrol, particularly transportation, with fares jumping by more than 100 percent nationwide.

The leadership of the two labour centres were said to have deliberated extensively on the hardship the policy would bring on Nigerians and concluded that it would do everything possible to compel government to reverse the policy.

A terse communiqué issued at the end of the meeting gave government till midnight on Sunday, January 8, to reverse the pump price of petrol to N65 per litre or risk a nationwide protests billed to begin on Monday, January 9, 2012.

Since the announcement of the controversial decision by the Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency (PPPRA), the agency responsible for monitoring and regulating prices of petroleum products in the country, millions of Nigerians have mobilised in millions to protest the policy, describing it as obnoxious, callous and insensitive.

A gathering of activists at the Eagle Square, Abuja early this week to collect signatures for petition they were sending to the Federal Government on the matter ended in fiasco, as armed security operatives swooped on them and arrested 12 of them for illegal assembly.

Though the youths were dfree on Tuesday on the orders of the presidency, they have since regrouped along with several others across the country to sustain the protest till government backs down on the policy.


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