Hard knocks for Labour over botched strike
By John Eche
Hard knocks have come for leaders of organised labour in Nigeria on account of their capitulation before the Federal Government and calling off the strike action they had earlier scheduled to protest the increase in fuel prices and electricity tariffs in the country.
The principal unions at the centre of the fray are the Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC and the Trade Union Congress, TUC.
Nigerians, who had in their numbers expressed umbrage when the policies were introduced, had looked forward to the action forcing the hand of government in reversing the increases and as the beginning of a revamped and better focused economic package that would deliver greater dividends to the people, particularly at a time like this, when many are being assailed by the ravaging effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.
However, they woke to shocking news Monday morning that the strike had been called off, following an early morning agreement reached between labour and the government.
Part of the pain and consternation of the anguished citizens over the action by the labour bodies is the fact that, beyond an undistinguished show of bending over backwards, nothing substantial is coming to the people from the talks.
For example, the already in place hike in electricity tariffs was suspended for two weeks. However, the feeling out there is that this is only a time-buying move, more so when electricity subscribers, even on the pre-paid metering platform can almost not verify whether the electricity distribution companies are complying with the directive.
This concern is not also being helped by the fact that labour bureaucrats and officials of the National Electricity Regulatory Commission who are supposed to more clinically check on the enforcement of such directives have been known in the past to throw the people’s popular interests under the bus.
As for post-paid users, they have continued to be served estimated bills that they have consistently described as ill-fitting, arbitrary and outrageous.
Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, Vice President of Nigeria