Nigerians are suffering, don't hike petrol, electricity price, Labour tells FG
Organised Labour under the auspices of the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) and the Trade Union Congress (TUC) has warned President Muhammadu Buhari-led government against any plan to increase the price of electricity or petrol to avert crises in the economy.
The President, National Union of Chemical, Footwear Rubber Leather and Non-Metallic Product Employees (NUCFRLANMPE), Babatunde Olatunji issued the warning at the 29th Annual Industrial Relations seminar of the union in Ibadan on Monday. The theme of the five-day seminar is ''Socio-economic crises and COVID-19 Pandemic: Issues, challenges and way forward”.
According to Mr Olatunji, any plan to increase electricity or petrol will be a wrong step and the organised labour will do everything within its capacity to resist it. He said that currently, the power supply in Nigeria stood at 4,000 megawatts for about 200 million population compared to South Africa with 58,000 megawatts which has 50 million population. ”Industrialisation cannot take place in the absence of power. Inadequate infrastructure like a bad road network is also a challenge.
From the source of raw material to the market areas are dilapidated, the roads network are no longer motorable,” he said. The NUCFRLANMPE president said that governments at different levels needed to make the manufacturing sector thrive by giving attention to factors that promoted industrialisation. ”Government should ensure adequate power, security of lives and properties as well as regulate multiple taxation and charges to allow manufacturing companies survive, thus promote Gross Domestic Products in the country,” he said.
The labour leader further said that the effect of socio-economic crises and the COVID-19 pandemic on industrial relations was evident in the high number of job losses arising from redundancy and factory closures. He said that the management of some organisations in a bid to maximise profit make the staff to work for more than eight hours without overtime payment while a lot of permanent employment is converted to casual.
He urged the management of affected organisations to treat all workers with dignity whether casual or permanent employment and also respect the International Labour Organisation's law on workers right to form or join a union irrespective of their status. Meanwhile, Femi Oke, Secretary, Chemical and Non-Metallic Product s Employers Federation (CANMPEF), advised the government to prioritise the sale of foreign exchange for manufacturers to boost production.
Mr Oke advised the government to curtail the inflation rate, stop the multiplicity of levies, prioritise infrastructure and improve security for the development of the nation. He also called for collaboration and communication between employers and employees to ensure the survival of the organisation. (Daily Independent)