Nupeng, Pengassan Back Subsidy Removal, Nlc Undecided, Tuc Demands Reinstatement
BEVERLY HILLS, May 13, (THEWILL) – Nigeria's main workers unions are divided on federal government's announcement of the cancellation of the fraud-marred subsidy on petrol.
The National Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG) and the Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (PENGASSAN), have thrown their weight behind the decision to end the program, while the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) is yet to formally make its position public, the Trade Union Congress (TUC) wants the subsidy reinstated.
Chairmen of NUPENG and PENGASSAN, Comrade Igwe Achese and Comrade Francis Olabode Johnson, respectively, told reporters Friday in Calabar after a joint National Executive Council meeting that government's decision would restore transparency in the sector and allow it grow.
They oil unions said: “The deregulation of the sector is what we have been agitating for the past eight years or more. The oil and gas sector must have transparency and it is only when it is transparent that the nation's economy will beginning to grown and job opportunities would be created.
“For us our clear position is that the deregulation of the sector and opening of the market is a welcome development.
“It is clear that we must deregulate and stop payment of subsidies into the hands of few Nigerians. We must not mortgage the nation's economy into the hands of few Nigerians. We must open up the system and see how we can now talk about regulation.
“The key fundamental issue in the issue of this price modulation is regulation and putting in place the necessary checks and balances that can control the price environment as it is.
“But government should put in place the mechanism to start negotiation immediately on the minimum wage. It is very key to us. Because you cannot tell us that you are doing this and there are no palliative and one of the key palliative in the Nigerian environment is to renegotiate the minimum wage. Government must move in quickly and do this otherwise there would be a reaction somewhere.”
Meanwhile, the Trade Union Congress of Nigeria (TUC) Friday formally asked government to reinstate the program and gave authorities up till May 18, 2016 to invite the leadership of organised labour for discussion on the way forward.
In a communique at the end of an emergency National Executive Council meeting of the Congress in Lagos, the TUC said it will interface with the leadership of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and the Civil Society allies to work out action plans that would be put in place to protest the insensitive fuel price hike.
“The National Executive Council (NEC) of the Trade Union Congress of Nigeria (TUC) at an emergency meeting held on Friday 13th May 2016 in Lagos deliberated extensively on the recent increase in the price of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) also known as petrol by the Federal Government and passed the following resolutions.
“The NEC-in-Session rejected in its entirety the astronomical increase in the price of petrol from N86.50 per litre to N145 per litre and demanded that the Government should revert to the old price regime with immediate effect.
“The NEC in session gave the Federal Government up till Wednesday, 18th May, 2016 to invite the leadership of labour for discussion aimed at determining the appropriate way forward,” the Communique signed by the President of Congress, Comrade Bobboi Bala Kaigama and Ag Secretary-General Comrade Simeso Amachree said.
The NLC has scheduled a briefing for Saturday, May 14, 2016, at midday to make its position public.