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Pressure on labour to shelve strike

President Buhari

President Buhari

By Nsikan Ikpe
Pressure is mounting on the Nigerian labour movement to shelve its planned strike action called to protest the recent hike in the prices of petroleum products in the country.

Rising from its session Monday, the house of representatives requested the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and the Trade Union Congress (TUC) to suspend their planned industrial action to allow them room to intervene in the conflict.

At the special session convened to discuss the stalemate, the house resolved to constitute an ad hoc committee to interface with the labour unions and stakeholders in the oil sector to find a solution to the impasse.

It will be recalled that last Saturday, the labour unions gave the federal government a three-day ultimatum to reverse the price of petrol from N145 to N86.5 or be faced with an indefinite strike action.

Meanwhile, Dr Ibe Kachikwu, the minister of state for petroleum, was also in the house on Monday to explain the reason for the hike in the price of petrol.

In his presentation, he stated that the new price regime was a consequence of the falling foreign exchange earnings of the government.

He said the government was not unmindful of the pain the actions would bring for Nigerians, hence it had created palliatives to cushion the effect of the hike in petrol price.

“The problems of the oil industry is immense. Infrastructure is key. Our pipelines are 35 years old,” the minister lamented.

“The time has now to come to invest in infrastructure. The Buhari government is a solution seeking government. We are solving problems that have been there for many years.”

Meanwhile, the effect of the new price regime is already been felt in cities like Lagos. Roads like the busy Lekki Expressway were sparsely patronised even as internet cafe owners were seen rationing their use of their alternative power generating sets on account of the increased cost of operations.

With this scenario, all eyes are on labour to see if it would back down on its plans.

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